Texas Judge Nearly Blocked From Voting, Thanks To New Voter ID Law

Due to having a slightly different name, a Texas judge was nearly barred from voting, thanks to strict new Voter ID laws that are showing their true colors.

KiiiTV3.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Texas passed laws last year that changed the ID requirements for voting in local, state, and/or national elections.  These voter ID laws, a point of contention in national politics, were claimed to be needed to prevent voter fraud, though many suspect the real reason is to prevent minority and poor voters, who likely do not have and cannot afford the new IDs, from being able to vote.  The strictness of these voter ID laws have not been shown, however, until now: A Texas District Court Judge was nearly denied being able to vote because her name changed after being married several decades ago.

117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts, based in Corpus Christi, has been voting in every election in the last 49 years.  She has used the same identification and voter registration for nearly 52 years, and the last time she changed her address was likely the 1980s.  However, despite all this, that was not enough to satisfy voting officials when Watts came in yesterday as part of early voting for this year's local elections.  The reason?  The name on her voter registration is different from her Texas ID, because she got married in 1964.  Watts' maiden name is now her middle name, while her married name is now her last name.

Before, voting officials would have given the switch a pass, since it is obvious that the maiden name is still there, just in a different position, and all the other details likely matched up.  But due to Texas' new voter ID laws, that is no longer acceptable: It seems everything has to match, all the way down to the name and positioning.  Sandra Watts says it is the first time she has ever run into a problem with voting.

Thankfully, all Sandra Watts had to do was fill out a voter affidavit saying it is her.  The other option would have been to file a provisional ballot, which would have taken several days to be counted because it requires further verification from the voter.  But still, that Watts had to go that far just to vote presents a problem for not only women voters, but the concept of these Voter IDs: It creates the notion that it is not about protecting fraud, but controlling the vote.

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