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Voter ID law OK’d for now

June 27, 2013

Texas voters looking to cast a ballot in upcoming elections can prepare to pony-up a picture ID, as a landmark Supreme Court ruling issued this week will allow the state to activate its controversial voter ID law, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the formula that determines which states must petition Washington before making elections changes, Abbott said Texas' voter ID law would take effect immediately.

“With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Abbott said. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Starting today, Texas Department of Public Safety driver license offices will begin issuing photo IDs to anyone who doesn't already have one. Under the 2011 state law creating one of the state’s most strict voter ID laws, the certificates are free and valid for six years. To qualify, an applicant must show U.S. citizenship and Texas residency.

While state offices brace themselves to handle the expected demand for the photo IDs, Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom said the new law is expected to have a minimal effect on the Crossroads area.

“Approximately 50 percent of the voters in Howard County already use their photo ID — usually their Texas driver's license — when they go to the polls,” Bloom said. “So, I don't really see this law having a very pronounced effect on elections held in Howard County.”

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