Yesterday, State Sen. (and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful) Wendy Davis voted early for the Nov. 5 statewide election, the first in which Texans are required to show a photo ID to be able to vote.
One of the many objections voiced to the mostly Republican-backed law has been that it would cause problems for eligible voters whose names differ on their ID and voter registration cards. This is common most especially for married women, who don't always take steps to change maiden names to married names on all of their documents.
When Davis showed up at the poll, her driver's license includes her maiden name, while her voter registration card did not. So she had to sign an affidavit before she could vote, part of a provision that Davis herself attached to the law in 2011 for cases in which names on the documents are "substantially similar."
About the incident, she remarked:
"It was a simple procedure,” said Davis, D-Fort Worth, who is running for governor in next year’s election. “I signed the affidavit and was able to vote with no problem.”
But then she expressed concern that it'll cause difficulties for other women, especially those whose names have changed entirely due to a divorce or marriage.
The Star-T also quoted a woman named Jane Westfall, who supports the voter ID requirement, but had to sign an affidavit because one of her documents had only her middle initial, while the other included her full middle name.
Both of these documents bear my signature as required,” she said. “I was challenged because these two documents, issued by the State of Texas, are different regarding my name.” Westfall said she was frustrated by the situation. “I signed because I wanted to vote, but will not bother with this nonsense again,” she said. “I am an American citizen, duly qualified and registered to vote and I had four temporary poll workers challenging my vote."
Does Westfall have a right to complain? Does Davis?