AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Senate on Monday approved key modifications to the state’s strictest-in-the-nation voter ID law, incorporating some changes ordered after federal courts previously found it discriminatory.
The bill doesn’t ease requirements about which seven forms of picture identifications people are allowed to show when casting ballots. Gun licenses remain acceptable, but college IDs aren’t.
Federal courts have ruled the law disproportionately affects poor and minority voters and ordered a workaround for November’s presidential election that let Texans without required ID vote by signing an affidavit.
Sponsored by Republican Sen. Joan Huffman, the bill instead makes permanent many of the court changes while also creating a criminal penalty of up to 10 years in prison for deliberately lying on such affidavits.
A recent Associated Press analysis of roughly 13,500 affidavits submitted in Texas’ largest counties found at least 500 instances in which voters were allowed to get around the law by signing an affidavit and never showing a photo ID — despite indicating that they possessed one. Most of those cases tended to reflect confusion about — or people deliberately voicing objections to — the voter ID law, rather than attempted fraud.