25 Oct RELEASE: Early voters see problems with photo ID, intimidation

 

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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Contact: Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
Phone: 512.914.5905
Email: zenen@texascivilrightsproject.org

Contact: Stacie Burgess, Communications Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Phone: 202-662-8317
Email: sburgess@lawyerscommittee.org

 

RELEASE: Early 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 voter 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 that have been sent to us, as well as a photo 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. In addition, the Texas Civil Rights Program sent a letter to Secretary of State Carlos Casco to request that 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 voters about political controversies.

Sample of reported information from October 24 and October 25:

Bayland Park Community Center
Harris County
Poll worker incorrectly told voters they needed a photo ID

Metropolitan Multi-Service Center
Harris County
Poll worker incorrectly told voters they needed a photo ID

Castle Hills, Texas City Hall
Bexar County
Incorrect photo ID flyer posted in polling location

University of North Texas Gateway Center
Denton County
Incorrect photo ID flyer posted in polling location

Flower Mound, Texas Polling Location
Denton County
Voter reported being turned away for lack of photo ID

Carrollton, Texas Polling Location
Denton County
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 are able to 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 is simply 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.

 


Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its suite of hotlines, including the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline (866-687-8683) administered by the Lawyers’ Committee, 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) administered by NALEO Educational Fund, 888-API-VOTE (888-273-8683) administered by APIAVote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC and a dedicated team of trained legal and grassroots volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting. The coalition has more than 100 partners—including Advancement Project, Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, League of Women Voters of the United States, NAACP, National Bar Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, State Voices, Rock the Vote and Verified Voting Foundation—at the national, state and local levels and provides voter protection services nationwide. For more information about Election Protection and the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, please visit www.866ourvote.org.