Wendy Davis could have been barred from voting by Texas’ strict voter ID law—along with her likely Republican opponent in next year’s governor’s race, too. That both will be able to cast ballots is thanks to a change in the law that Davis herself pushed. Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor next year, showed up Monday to vote early in her hometown of Fort Worth. Several constitutional amendments and other proposals are on the ballot in Texas this year. It’s the first election to be held under the state’s controversial voter ID law, which the U.S. Justice Department has challenged as racially discriminatory. But when the state senator got to her polling place, poll workers noted that the name on her driver’s license, Wendy Russell Davis, didn’t match that on her voter rolls, Wendy Davis. That meant that under the law, she was required to sign an affidavit swearing that she was who she said she was. “It was a simple procedure,” Davis told reporters afterward. “I signed the affidavit and was able to vote with no problem.” But it was thanks to Davis’ own efforts that she even had that option.
In 2011, Davis introduced an amendment to the voter ID bill saying that if names are substantially similar but not identical, voters can sign an affidavit and still vote. The original bill as drafted by Republicans would have required voters in that situation to present a document showing a name change—something few people bring with them when they go to vote.
And it gets better—or worse. Greg Abbott, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for governor, also will have to sign an affidavit, his campaign said, thanks to a similar names mismatch. Abbott, the state attorney general, has defended the voter ID law in court.
“If it weren’t for Wendy Davis’ leadership, Greg Abbott might have nearly disenfranchised himself,” Davis spokesman Bo Delp said.
Full Article: Wendy Davis’ fix to voting law lets her cast ballot | MSNBC.