Marked by record turnout, Texas’ first week of early voting has been plagued by widespread confusion about controversial photo ID requirements with cases of people being turned away at the polls, civil rights groups monitoring state activity said Friday. A coalition of civil rights groups manning a hotline says it has received around 325 reports from Texas since early voting started Monday, most of which involved disorder, inaccurate information and intimidation tactics by election officials and poll workers surrounding the state’s voter ID law. Other complaints involved long lines, malfunctioning machines and an armed person in North Texas talking politics to voters in line. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Friday filed a lawsuit against Bexar County for having outdated voter ID information, including posters, website materials and a recorded message. The county agreed to a temporary restraining order.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in July ruled the Texas voter ID law violated federal ballot box protections for minorities and ordered it be weakened for November’s election.
A federal judge carried out the 5th Circuit’s ruling and diluted the measure. Voters lacking one of seven forms of state-mandated photo identification are allowed to cast a regular ballot after signing an affidavit and presenting an alternate form of ID from an expanded list.