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Posted by on Mar 2, 2010 in Politics | 56 comments

Photo ID Strikes Again

Although most of the attention in Tuesday’s Texas primary election is focused on the GOP race for Governor there is another issue that is attracting controversy (primarily from the left).

On the Republican primary ballot are several non binding resolutions, one of which expresses the view that some form of photo ID should be required to vote. This is purely an advisory proposal and has no legal impact but there are some blogs that are freaking out over the idea.

The text of the proposal is

The Texas legislature should make it a priority to protect the integrity of our election process by enacting legislation that requires voters to provide valid photo identification in order to cast a ballot in any and all elections conducted in the State of Texas.

The standard response being how it is racist, prejudiced, etc to require photo ID because the poor and minorities find it so difficult to get photo ID and how there are huge numbers of people living without it.

Often the response to this argument is to point out that there are a lot of things these days that do require photo ID, such as opening a bank account, renting a movie, cashing a check, etc. But I would respond from personal experience to point out that one of the biggest parts of my work is bankruptcy.

I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years and I have *never* had a client who had an issue with photo ID.

My clients run a pretty wide range from middle class homeowners on the upper end of the income range on down to migrant farm workers who didn’t even have the money for the filing fee (the court does allow fees to be waived in those cases). None of them had a problem getting photo ID (and also social security cards for that matter).

So assuming for the sake of argument that some of the less affluent clients didn’t have photo ID at the start, they were able to get it to file bankruptcy. If they could do it for that important thing then why couldn’t they do it to vote ?