Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Contact: Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
Contact: Stacie Burgess, Communications Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
RELEASE: Early Texas voters see problems with photo ID, intimidation
Election Protection organizations call on Secretary of State to rectify problems with misinformation
Austin, TX — With early voting in full swing and many counties reporting record-breaking voter turnout, Election Protection volunteers are also fielding citizen questions and concerns about polling locations across Texas. In the past two days, over 200 calls and email reports have been made to the Election Protection hotline and partners about inaccurate voter ID information at early voting locations across the state; long lines, machine malfunctions and reports of intimidation.
Initial information suggests that much confusion remains about the recent changes in the Texas voter ID law. Reports indicate that polling locations in Bexar, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Hays, McLennan, and Travis Counties, at a minimum, are posting misleading or inaccurate information regarding the need for photo ID to vote. In one instance, a voter reported being turned away from the polls for lack of photo ID.
Here is an example of reports sent to us, as well as a picture of the inaccurate voter ID information.
The Texas Election Protection coalition – made up of the Texas Civil Rights Project, Common Cause Texas, the Texas Organizing Project, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the J.L Turner Legal Association, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, the Dallas Asian American Bar Association and the Dallas Muslim Bar Association – is working with County officials to rectify the misinformation. Also, the Texas Civil Rights Program sent a letter to Secretary of State Carlos Casco to request that he immediately provide clear guidelines to all polling locations.
Additionally, reports have surfaced of voter intimidation in Denton County with an armed marshal standing beside the line at the Carrollton polling location talking to the electorate about political controversies.
Sample of reported information from October 24 and October 25:
Bayland Park Community Center
Poll worker incorrectly told voters they needed a photo ID
Metropolitan Multi-Service Center
Poll worker mistakenly told voters they needed a photo ID
Castle Hills, Texas City Hall
Incorrect photo ID flyer posted in polling location
University of North Texas Gateway Center
Wrong photo ID flyer posted in polling location
Flower Mound, Texas Polling Location
Voter reported being turned away for lack of photo ID
Carrollton, Texas Polling Location
Armed patrol person talking to voters waiting in line
Cassandra Champion, Staff Attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:
“With millions of Texans voting early, we need to make sure they don’t experience any problems or delays. The Election Protection hotline has already received many reports of inaccurate, misleading, and incorrect information about the recent changes to the voter ID law. The Secretary of State must move quickly to rectify these problems.
We encourage all voters to call the Election Protection hotline with any questions or concerns, the information we gather will help us better understand issues at the ballot box and develop strategies to ensure voters can cast a ballot that counts.”
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
“Across Texas, we are seeing local election officials undermine the weight of the 5th Circuit’s ruling striking down the state’s photo id law as discriminatory. Instead of changing the rules, some counties across Texas continue to impose the strict photo id law and are posting signs that suggest to voters that the photo id law remains in effect. This posting is just unacceptable. The court has spoken, and local officials must immediately stop imposing a law that was found discriminatory. We encourage voters to continue reporting violations to the Election Protection program via our 866-OUR-VOTE hotline.”
During early voting, the Election Protection coalition is encouraging voters to call the toll-free English language hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE. Additionally, Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 888-VE-Y-VOTA hotline and Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali speakers can use the 888-API-VOTE number.