Voter ID bill soon could become law

POSTED: Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 4:32pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- Heads up for some changes when it comes to the way you vote.

This week the Texas House approved the voter ID bill first introduced in January.

For voters, showing a picture ID isn't a new concept, according to McLennan County Elections Official, Kathy Van Wolfe.

"We do have a lot of voters who vote with their drivers license," said Van Wolfe.

So why the fuss in Austin.

Democrats say it would discourage a lot of poor and minority voters without IDs to vote.

However, County Commissioner, Ben Perry, says we need IDs for so many reasons in Texas that it shouldn't be a problem.

"It's not an expensive venture to go get an ID. Anybody that's done that and gone down there, it's not an issue. To me, it comes down to personal responsibility, and if you take your privilege to vote seriously, then you will go get an ID," said Perry.

Lawmakers say the bill's main purpose is to cut back on voter fraud.

Currently all you have to do before you vote is show something that connects your name to your address. You can show you voter registration card or a household bill. So almost anything with your name and address on it gets you in to vote.

With a picture, officials can verify your identity right away. However, election officials say fraud doesn't happen often in person.

"Sometimes that can happen with our ballot by mail because we try to watch that real closely," said Van Wolfe.

Their only concern: mail-in ballots and senior citizens.

"At this point we don't require them to send us a copy of a photo ID, and I don't know if they will attach any of that to the bill to make them do that, but again, that's the people who will be most effected. The people who don't drive," said Van Wolfe.

As for the cost to voters? The bill states voters without an ID can get one for free from the DPS.

Now, the revised bill goes to the Senate and Gov. Perry before it's made official.

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