A federal judge has approved a deal between the Voter ID plaintiffs and the state to permit voters without legally required photo identification to cast ballots in the HD120 special runoff election.
A voter lacking proper ID can provide a valid voter registration certificate or a “current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name of the voter.” If the voter did not bring any of those documents, the voter must provide their date of birth and last four digits of the social security number.
The voter will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot, which will be counted by the provisional balloting board unless “there is conclusive evidence that the affiant is not person in whose name the ballot is cast.”
The fact that the ballots are counted by the provisional balloting board means that they will not be included in the initial vote tallies reported on Election Day. Provisional ballots are counted not later than the 9th day after the election. If there are a significant number of them, then a winner may not be proclaimed until as late as August 11.
Early voting for the HD120 special runoff election begins Monday.
It remains to be seen whether this or another means of permitting voters without required photo identification to cast ballots will be in place for the general election.
The “limited interim relief” was required to cure the Voter ID law’s “discriminatory effect,” which a divided Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined to be a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. The appeals court directed U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi to order the interim fix and re-hear several issues that could open the door to the state once again being subject to the federal pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.