[P]ressures to apply the law in a hyperagressive manner that one could easily imagine in a hotly contested general election - with pollwatching groups out in abundance - are unlikely to be present in the primary.
One final caveat, to the extent the primary has predictive value, the most meaningful stat won’t so much be turnout but the number of provisional ballots cast. Higher turnout, but a higher number of provisionals because of ID problems, would be a canary in the mine worth noting.
So far, there are a few antedotal stories of problems (see below) but the full numbers once they become available in the coming weeks will the key statistic to watch.
Texans will have to prove who they are to cast ballots today, beginning a series of U.S state elections that will show the effect of laws pushed by Republicans requiring photo identification at the polls.
Nine states this year are holding their first major votes - - including for governor and Congress -- under such laws, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for many such requirements last year after throwing out a core element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was meant to enfranchise blacks in the segregated South. ...
Nineteen states have enacted some form of photo-identification law, according to the NCSL. Besides Texas, other states where laws are taking effect for major elections this year are Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Virginia, the group said. ...
To make their choices, voters in the Lone Star State must show one of seven forms of photo identification, including a driver’s license, election identification certificate, personal identification card or concealed handgun license, as well as a passport and military card from the federal government, according to the Texas Secretary of State. ...
Under Texas law, voters whose personal information doesn’t match exactly can initial a form to get a regular ballot. Those without an ID can vote using a provisional ballot allowing them six days to verify their identify and have the ballot counted, said Alicia Pierce, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office.
Between 8 percent and 12 percent of eligible U.S. citizens lack required identification, and while many states offer free cards for voting, it is difficult for some residents to travel to get them, said Myrna Perez, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York who represents groups challenging the Texas law.
Stricter voting requirements could come to Missouri next year if they’re not shot down along the way.
Most Statehouse legislators were betting on the former as two proposals from Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, passed the House last week.
The first was a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to change voting requirements for Missourians in an election, should it be approved by voters in November. The second is a bill that outlined changes to those requirements, the first and foremost of which was a change in voter identification procedures.
At present, would-be Missouri voters can register with a student ID, utility statement or a personal check. Under Dugger’s House Bill 1073, election officials would only be able to accept government-issued photo IDs: driver’s licenses, non-driver IDs or U.S. passports. ...
The bill, however, would require that state revenues cover the cost of procuring documents necessary to register. Voters, Dugger said, wouldn’t have to pay a dime — a counter to criticisms that his bill was a reinvention of the poll tax.
Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, according to a report released by his office, believes that the legislation could disenfranchise up to 220,000 already-registered voters. ...
Of the 220,000 potential disenfranchised voters, the report named the demographics most at risk because of HB1073. Among them were students with school-issued ID, seniors who no longer drive and Missourians who have to use public transportation: all groups that often possess less access to transportation to ID-issuing facilities.
In elections that begin this week, voters in 10 states will be required to present photo identification before casting ballots – the first major test of voter ID laws after years of legal challenges arguing that the measures are designed to suppress voting.
The first election is Tuesday in Texas, followed by nine other primaries running through early September that will set the ballot for the midterm elections in November, when voters decide competitive races for governor and control of Congress.
The primaries will be closely watched by both sides of the voter ID debate, which intensified in 2011, the year after Republicans swept to power in dozens of statehouses.
For months, election workers have been preparing new voting procedures, while party activists and political groups seek ID cards for voters who do not have them.
The debut of the new laws in a few smaller-scale elections over the plast year has already exposed some problems, such as mismatched names, confusion over absentee voting provisions and rules that require voters to travel great distances to obtain proper documentation. In one case, voters had no recourse if their credentials were challenged. ...
Georgia and Indiana adopted some of the first voter ID laws. This year, in addition to the Texas law, new or stricter photo-identification voting laws take effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have approved similar action, but those measures are on hold because of court challenges.
[T]he N.C. State Board of Elections released last year an analysis of voter fraud cases that were investigated. State election officials identified a total of 631 fraud cases between 2000 and 2012.
According to the state report, those cases "merited a referral" to the district attorney's office where the fraud occurred.
The state report shows 11 types of fraud, such double voting, vote buying/selling, illegal voter assistance and voter impersonation. ...
[T]he voter ID and reform bill that was passed by the General Assembly last year [includes] a new requirement for voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls starting with the next presidential election in 2016. ...
[Bob Hall, director of Democracy North Carolina,] said that from the state list, there were only two cases investigated involving voter impersonation - "the kind of fraud that would be addressed by requiring people to show a photo ID."
Those two cases are out of more than 30 million vote case in North Carolina elections since 2000.
By contrast, Hall said, the new law makes voting easier through the mail-in absentee ballot. The state documented 47 cases of voting absentee fraud.
A member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's conservative majority said Tuesday she's troubled by the state's voter photo ID requirements, saying it's not fair that people who lack identification may have to pay for supporting documents to obtain it.
The League of Women Voters and the NAACP's Milwaukee branch have filed separate lawsuits challenging the Republican-authored voter ID mandate. Both cases have wound their way to the Supreme Court; the justices spent more than three hours listening to oral arguments in a packed hearing room Tuesday.
The lawsuits face an uphill fight given the court's ideological makeup. Surprisingly, though, Justice Patience Roggensack said the provisions were troubling because people who lack acceptable IDs for voting would have to pay for copies of supporting documents, such as birth certificates, to get them.
"It's still a payment to the state to be able to vote," Roggensack said. "That bothers me."
The justices mused about whether they could erase fees for copies of birth certificates and other records, but Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, part of the court's two-justice liberal minority, said that wouldn't go far enough to help Wisconsin voters who were born out of state.
It's difficult to draw conclusions about how the court might ultimately rule from the justices' statements; they often play devil's advocate during oral arguments.
The House gave first-round approval to measures Tuesday that could lead to a voter photo ID requirement. Previous attempts have stalled in the Senate, been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon or blocked by judges. ...
Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, has estimated that 220,000 people wouldn't be able to vote if the photo identification requirement is adopted.
One of the legislation's sponsors, Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, said the bill has safeguards that would prevent people from not being able to vote.
The measure would let people obtain a government-issued ID free of charge. Voters who can't afford an ID and those born before 1941 could cast provisional ballots. The signature on the provisional ballot would have to match the signature on the voter's registration in order for the ballot to be counted.
Legislative staff estimate those provisions would cost about $6.5 million in the next state budget year.
Missouri Republicans have been trying for years to enact a photo ID requirement.
Alabama's new voter photo ID law, which takes effect with the June 3 primary, requires the state to issue free photo IDsfor those who don’t have a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID.
Voters applying for the new voter IDs must list date of birth, eye color, weight and height on the application.
Some lawmakers noted that under the current law, a person could conceivably be charged with a felony for incorrectly listing their weight or eye color.