Austin City Council exploring options on voter ID law

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 8:09 AM

AUSTIN -- The old days of showing up to the polls with just your voter's registration card are gone. Texas lawmakers recently passed a controversial voter ID law requiring voters show a picture ID to cast a ballot.

"Texas has the most strict ID of the entire country," said Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir. "And that's okay except for the fact that we have no implementation plan and very little time to get ready for the November 5th election."

There are seven approved forms of photo ID required to vote. A person will either have to show a DPS issued Texas Driver's License, DPS issued Texas Election Identification Certificate, DPS issued Texas Personal Identification Card, DPS issued Texas Concealed Handgun License, U.S. Military ID, U.S. Citizenship Certificate or U.S. Passport.

Thursday, DeBeauvoir and Travis County Tax Assessor/Collector Bruce Elfant shared their concerns about the law with the Austin City Council. They worry people's licenses will be expired, their names won't exactly match their registration cards or that they can't afford or have access to get an ID. All of those things would disqualify someone from voting.

"We also worry that women who have married and are now using a different name, that won't qualify," added DeBeauvoir.

"We do have a position on voter ID, most of us do as individuals, but we have to be very careful about how we roll that out," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

The council discussed in executive session what it will do about the law. Shortly after 5:00 p.m. it voted to explore it's options -- from possibly joining a lawsuit against the legislation to finding ways to educate Austinites.

"Our overriding concern is making sure that all the citizens of Austin have the unimpeded right to vote. That that right is not compromised or bridged in any way," added Leffingwell.

DeBeauvoir says it is imperative people check the name and birthday on their driver's license to their voter's registration card. If it doesn't match, contact the Travis County voter registrar at 512-854-9473.

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