The first election in McLennan County under the Voter Identification Law concludes Tuesday, and no problems have been reported during early voting or with absentee ballots, officials said.
Most voters use their driver’s license to vote, and that is still permissible under the new law, said Kathy Van Wolfe, McLennan County’s election administrator.
When early-voting polls closed Friday, 2,300 McLennan County residents had voted and 475 absentee ballots had been received.
Van Wolfe said the turnout is lower than normal because there are only constitutional amendments on the ballot.
“When there’s people on the ballot, we’ll see more coming,” she said.
The Voter Identification Law has been challenged since it was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. A three-judge federal panel struck it down in 2012, saying the law would affect minority voters disproportionately.
But that ruling was invalidated when the U.S. Supreme Court voted to suspend enforcement of part of the Votings Rights Act of 1965.
The U.S. Department of Justice has joined other parties in a federal lawsuit asking the court to overturn the Voter ID Law.
Citizens are required to present one of six forms of photo identification when voting.
In addition to a Texas driver’s licence, they are a U.S. passport, U.S. citizenship certificate, military ID card, Texas concealed handgun license or Texas personal ID card.
The IDs can be used to vote within 60 days after they expire.
If a voter doesn’t have any of those IDs, they are eligible for an election identification certificate from the Department of Public Safety.
Tom Vinger, DPS press secretary, said the agency has fielded more than 1,300 inquiries about the certificate and has issued 104 certificates statewide.
Vinger said some people think they are required to have the election certificate to vote, but that’s not true if they have one of the other photo IDs.
Anyone who arrives at the polls without one of the accepted photo IDs is still allowed to vote.
Their ballot is kept separate from the rest, and it is counted if the voter presents a valid ID at the county election office within six days of the election.
Van Wolfe said most inquiries to her office have focused on the “similar name test.”
If someone is registered to vote under a name that’s slightly different from what their photo ID shows, they are required to sign an affidavit before casting their ballot.
They can correct the name discrepancy when they vote by filling out a form, but it won’t keep them from voting, Van Wolfe said.
“I’ve had a few calls just because they’ve seen something in the news . . . but I haven’t had any of my polling places call me because there was a problem,” Van Wolfe said.