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Change in Voter ID Law gets trial run in Bexar County

Affidavit offered, but proof of ID still needed

SAN ANTONIO – Contrary to what many may think after a federal appeals court ordered changes in the Texas Voter ID Law, Bexar County elections administrator Jacque Callanen said, “Voter ID is still in effect for any election in the State of Texas.”

Callanen said what has changed is how people without an ID can still vote, but must still prove who they are.
She said the change is getting its first trial run in Bexar County ahead of the November general election, “Just because we got to be the special election capital of Texas.”

Monday was the start of early voting in the District 120 special election for the seat once held by State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, a Democrat, who announced her retirement.

Callanen said those polling sites have been given Reasonable Impediment affidavits only for those who do not have voter ID’s, instead of voters who already do.

“There is a complete difference. This is for the ‘never had,’” Callanen said.

But they must indicate which “reasonable impediment” kept them from getting some form of voter ID such as a driver’s license.

Callanen said the affidavit lists lack of transportation, no birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain a photo ID, work schedule, lost or stolen ID, disability or illness, family responsibilities, photo ID applied for but not received, or any other “reasonable impediment.”

She said as proof of who they are, they can present a valid voter registration card or “CPS bill, SAWS bill, bank statement, something that was mailed to them.”

Callanen said if they lack those, a date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number, can be used as well.

“If that’s what it comes down to, yes,” Callanen said.

She said then they’ll vote using a provisional paper ballot.

“We’ll do the research on it after the election, and we will count them if they qualify,” Callanen said. 

Callanen said otherwise, the change could help those who believed they couldn’t vote without an ID. 

Early voting for HD 120 runs through July 29 and Election Day is Aug. 2.