VoteRiders News


The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the Texas voter identification law, which requires voters to show an approved form of picture ID in order to vote at a poll.  Those who are already registered and who are qualified to vote by mail can still cast a ballot and the state provides free election certificates to those who can prove their U.S. citizenship and residence in Texas. ...

Marianela Acuna of VoteRiders, a non-profit [non-partisan] group, said there are many reasons why someone may not have an approved form of identification.

“There are people who need to renew their ID, there are also people who need to get their ID for the first time and do not have documents to prove their name change or their birth,” said Acuna.


In the six days that early voting has been underway in Texas, election judge William Parsley on Sunday said he has only seen one potential voter turned away at his polling location, the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in downtown Houston.

“An elderly man, a veteran. Ninety-three years old,” Parsley, an election judge for the last 15 years, told ThinkProgress. “His license had expired.” ...

With the voting process in such early stages, it’s hard to say how many people will be affected this time around. But poll monitors in Houston say they’ve already encountered problems with some registered voters not being allowed to cast their ballots.

“We had a voter show up with her Mississippi ID, and it’s a valid ID with a picture and name,” said Marianela Acuña Arreaza, the Texas coordinator for VoteRiders, a non-profit that helps people obtain their voter ID so they can vote. “Her name matched her voter registration, but it’s not one of the IDs that the law requires.”

“She was offered a provisional ballot, but she refused,” Acuña Arreaza continued. “She came out and told the poll monitors.”

In partnership with Common Cause, another non-profit that lobbies for voting rights, Acuña Arreaza is organizing and dispatching poll monitors in Houston who seek to help people who are turned away at the polls. From the time early voting started in Houston, Acuña Arreaza said she’s seen about 10 cases of registered voters not being allowed to vote — a number that was less than she expected, but “still too many.”

Acuña Arreaza and Parsely are both hopeful that the voters turned away for early voting will be able to get some form of acceptable ID by Election Day. But one thing that worries Acuña Arreaza is that the process of getting turned away can sometimes be so embarrassing that people get dejected — they don’t want to come back, and they don’t want to tell anyone what happened.

“We try to encourage people to come back, but what we’re worried about is that we may just lose that ballot as a whole,” she said. “A lot of people are ashamed of being rejected, and they just don’t want to talk about it. We have so many cases, but not everyone wants to come out and speak about it.”


The Harris County AFL-CIO Council  would like to inform you about the Texas Voter ID services available in Harris County.

VoteRiders is a national 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on making sure that no eligible citizen is denied his or her right to vote for lack of ID that complies with the law.

VoteRiders is reaching out to local organizations and unions to find and help Texas citizens who have questions or need voter ID assistance. The organization is ready to assist voters at any level of the voter ID assistance spectrum: from fixing their name on their ID to requesting birth certificates from out-of-state to obtain a new ID.


...According to a recent Texas on the Brink Report, Texas is 51st (read: dead last) in women’s voter turnout and 47th in women’s voter registration. Furthermore, a recently enforced Texas Voter ID law is said to make it harder for minority populations to vote...

Marianela Acuña-Arreaza is the Texas Coordinator for VoteRiders, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focusing on making sure that no eligible citizen is denied his or her right to vote for lack of ID. She says that obtaining an appropriate photo ID can be more difficult than people think, especially for people of color and women. “Many women may change their names after they marry or divorce, and if their name doesn’t match the name that is on their voter file, they may be given a provisional ballot [instead of a regular ballot] at the polls,” Acuña-Arreaza says.


Marianela Acuña es coordinadora para Texas de VoteRiders, un grupo que intenta ayudar en los problemas que los electores de edad avanzada pudieran tener para obtener una identificación válida para sufragar. 


Here's a challenge for all who insist that voter ID will pose no special hardship for certain voters in Texas.

How about you help make sure that is as true as you think it is?

VoteRiders is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that will focus on helping those voters in Harris County without photo IDs to get them.

Right now, it's focused on Harris, but who knows? More contributions could mean the effort occurs here too. ...

There are an estimated 84,511 in Harris County without the IDs, home to Houston, the state's most populous city. Statewide, the Justice Department in 2012 said some 1.4 million Texans, disproportionately minority, would be affected. ...

Surely, you all believe as I do in the importance of voting and the value of highest possible turnout. Surely, whom folks vote for is less important than simply being able to. Can't let voter ID be disenfranchising, can we? And you believe this so much that you will bring the VoteRiders model here to nearly-as-needy Bexar County. ...

The organization is specifically looking for partners in Harris County — volunteers and lawyers to act as voter advocates to help folks get IDs.



VoteRiders, the only national organization focused solely on voter ID, has signed up Marianela Acuña Arreaza as its Texas Coordinator. 

A seasoned team leader, Ms. Acuña Arreaza will facilitate implementation of VoteRiders' action plan initially in Houston/Harris County during this midterm election year. “We are thrilled to have Marianela on board,” said VoteRiders Founder and President, Kathleen Unger. “She comes highly recommended and brings a wealth of experience, commitment and passion about voter ID to her work.”

Ms. Acuña Arreaza has substantial experience in planning and implementing bilingual civic participation programs, advocacy campaigns and leadership trainings, including work with the Texas Civic Engagement Table and Mi Familia Vota.

Since VoteRiders is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit, Ms. Acuña Arrezea’s views synchronize well with the organization’s strict non-partisan stance: “I am the least partisan person I know. I like democracy for the sake of it and welcome the opportunity to ensure that as many people as possible are able to exercise this fundamental right of United States democracy.”

VoteRiders aims to build a robust network of Partner Organizations, Voter Advocates and Attorney Voter Advocates to reach its goal of finding and assisting as many eligible voters as possible to secure the documents required by the Texas voter ID law. With a highly contested gubernatorial and other important races this year, VoteRiders wants to enable voters to participate in a seamless voting experience in 2014 and beyond.

Ms. Acuña Arreaza will engage local grassroots organizations in Harris County to determine how VoteRiders can help with their constituents’ voter ID needs. She will in turn support our Partners in training Voter Advocates to assist citizens at Voter ID Clinics and other voter outreach events. Helping to recruit and train Attorney Voter Advocates will be another critical aspect of Ms. Acuña Arreaza’s work, as lawyers will provide their assistance and expertise to voters at Voter ID Clinics and in their offices.

Contact: Kathleen Unger, Founder/President: VoteRiders            310-467-5518


VoteRiders is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Through resources and media exposure, VoteRiders supports on-the-ground organizations that assist citizens to secure their voter ID and inspires local volunteers and communities to sustain such programs and galvanize others to emulate these efforts.


By Kathleen Unger and Steven Kamp


Make sure your vote counts. Prepare for your next Election Day – effective immediately.

In 34 states you need an acceptable form of identification to vote. Now in four states, you need proof of citizenship to even register to vote.

A judge ruled on March 19 that the federal government cannot deny a state’s requirement that registering voters submit proof of their citizenship. While the court's decision was in response to the lawsuit brought by Kansas and Arizona, it applies initially as well to Alabama and Georgia, which have also passed similar laws. This decision is "effective immediately," although it will likely be appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

More states are passing increasingly restrictive voter ID and registration laws. VoteRiders, a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit, is the only organization that focuses exclusively on voter ID. We provide resources and marketing support to local Partner Organizations and trained volunteers who assist citizens to obtain the documents required by their state's new voter ID law – and, now, their state’s proof-of-citizenship registration law.

You want to do something about this, you say? If you know someone in a voter ID state who may need ID, direct them to VoteRiders for help. If you live in one of VoteRiders’ current, target voter ID states – AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IN, KS, MS, NC, NH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA – contact VoteRiders to learn how to become a volunteer Voter Advocate or Attorney Voter Advocate.

Below are the proof-of-citizenship requirements for Kansas and Arizona. Don't get left behind! 

KANSAS. Any person registering to vote in Kansas for the first time will be required to provide satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship. Individuals registered to vote in Kansas as of January 1, 2013, are deemed to have submitted proof of citizenship and are exempt from the requirement as long as they remain on the voter registration list. Moving from one place to another within Kansas or modifying one's registration records does not require the person to re-submit proof of citizenship.

The following is a partial list of acceptable documents:

  • Birth certificate that verifies U.S. citizenship
  • U.S. passport (may be expired)
  • U.S. naturalization documents or the number of the certificate of naturalization
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal treaty number or tribal enrollment number
  • U.S. hospital record of birth indicating place of birth in the U.S.
  • U.S. military record of service showing the applicant’s name and U.S. birthplace

ARIZONA.  If this is your first time registering to vote in Arizona or you have moved to another county in Arizona, your voter registration form must also include proof of citizenship. If you have an Arizona driver license or non-operating identification issued after October 1, 1996, write the number in box 9 on the front of the Arizona Voter Registration form. If not, you must attach proof of citizenship to the form. If you are registered in Arizona and use the registration form because you move within a county, change your name, or change your political party affiliation, you do not need to provide photocopies of proof of citizenship.

The following is a list of acceptable documents to establish your citizenship:

  • A legible photocopy of a birth certificate that verifies citizenship and supporting legal documentation (e.g., marriage certificate) if the name on the birth certificate is not the same as your current legal name
  • A legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of your passport
  • Presentation to the County Recorder of U.S. naturalization documents or fill in your Alien Registration Number in box 11
  • Your Indian Census Number, Bureau of Indian Affairs Card Number, Tribal Treaty Card Number, or Tribal Enrollment Number in box 10
  • A legible photocopy of your Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood or Tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs Affidavit of Birth

Don't despair, and don't delay. Contact VoteRiders if you or someone you know needs help securing a voter ID or proof of citizenship, or if you want to help stem the tide of disenfranchisement as a result of these voter ID and registration laws.

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