Local Democrats are up in arms about a controversial voter ID bill that would exclude veterans’ identification cards from the short list of photo IDs required to cast a vote in Texas. Ann McGeehan, director of the Secretary of State’s elections division, said last week at a seminar in Austin that photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not acceptable forms of military ID to vote, according to a recording provided by the Texas Democratic Party. Jordy Keith, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, backpedaled Friday on that determination.
“It was an informal Q&A, and (McGeehan) was answering based on what was expressly called out in Senate Bill 14,” Keith said. “Right now our office has not issued a final determination on that.”
Passed after Gov. Rick Perry declared voter ID an emergency issue in the last session, the strict bill is touted by Republicans as a way to reduce voter fraud but decried by Democrats as an effort to lower voter turnout among minorities and the elderly, disabled and poor.
Texas voters, beginning next year, cannot cast a ballot without one of the following forms of photo identification: a Texas driver’s license; a Texas concealed handgun license; a U.S. passport; citizenship papers; or a military identification card.
Veterans eligible for VA medical benefits receive the VA cards, which include photos.
Not allowing holders of the VA card to vote would largely affect veterans who are young, homeless and traumatized by war, said Charlie Jones, head of Texas Democratic Veterans.
“We have a lot of young vets,” Jones said. “We have a lot of vets who are homeless. The only way they interchange with the community is through the (Veteran’s Administration).”
Full Article: Vet ID holders cannot vote? – San Antonio Express-News.