New Voter ID, Unavailable in Seventy Counties in State, Opens With Wealth of Issues Remaining
But per the Press's calculations, there are 70 counties within Texas that do not provide such offices. From Irion and Crockett Counties in Central Texas to La Salle and Duvall Counties in South Texas, TxDPS's website shows that nearly 30 percent of Texas counties do not provide the necessary offices at which residents will have to arrive if they want to pick up an EIC.
A raft of other uncertainties remain. Cesinger said she didn't know how many Texans would apply for the new cards or how many would need them. "There are no projections for either of those," she said.
She also said she was unsure as to how long it would take to receive the EIC following an application, or what kind of outreach programs, if any, her department would use to educate Texans as to the new regulations.
"As far as it coming in mail, I'm not sure exactly on what the timing is," she said. "We're certainly working with the Secretary of State's office to educate the public on this. ... Again, this is pretty fresh."
Alicia Pierce, the Secretary of State's communications director, said her office would be unfurling a media campaign as the November election date moved closer, but that she was unsure what forms of educational outreach it would contain.
"We are always working to makes sure that Texans have all the info they need in order to vote, including now," Pierce told the Press. "You can't underestimate the importance of working with county officials, and they are a central part to getting word out."
They may not need to get the word out, however. US Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), along with a handful of others, filed suit in federal court on Wednesday, challenging the state's new voter ID requirements.
"Just last year, a panel of federal judges in D.C. who were appointed by both Republican and Democratic presidents, unanimously ruled that the Voter Photo ID law was discriminatory," Veasey said in a statement obtained by the Press. "It is absolutely outrageous that just hours after the SCOTUS ruling, Gregg Abbott implemented the Voter ID law, fully knowing that this very law was already ruled as discriminatory against minorities, the poor, and the elderly [sic]. This is only one example of why Section 5 must be preserved and reason enough that I, along with 6 other plaintiffs, filed suit in federal court to prevent any form of voter disenfranchisement."
However the upcoming litigation ends, voter ID within Texas remains as polarizing as it's ever been. While supporters see it as an effective method of combating voter fraud within the state, opponents point not simply to the reasons for which it was initially struck down in federal court, but also cite the demographic shifts the state is projected to see.
"The Supreme Court's decision is a disaster," Gerald Horne, a professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston, told the Press. "It's clear that the Republican Party in Texas is intimidated by the changing demographics of the state, with the rising Latino population in particular. ...
"They're engaged in desperate maneuvers because they see the numbers," Horne added. "The hard white right is hunkering down for its Alamo moment. Let's hope that we'll give it to them."