Disenfranchisement, A Little Bit Bigger in Texas
Posted by Nick
October 25, 2013
The saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas, including our bigots at the capitol. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about Southern comfort and hospitality, but Texas’ new voting law isn’t so comforting. The voting ID law passed simply asks for identification before being allowed to vote. Besides of course excluding immigrants who lack these documents and senior citizens who can’t always find the means to have updated identification–the ramifications of this bill now targets Texas women and trans folks.
You may have seen the sexist “End Women’s Suffrage” video prank where a guy asks passing women to sign a petition to end women’s suffrage. Well, the joke is no laughing matter when it has real world implications. The new bill creates a barrier for women to vote because there presents an issue where newly married or divorced women, don’t have matching identification if they decided to change their name. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a third of women lack accurate identification with their legal names. For the transgender community, 27% in Texas lack the accurate form of identification. Now, trans folks face even more difficulty in having a voice in Texas politics.
The arduous process of getting the right form of identification is complicated in itself. The process is explained: “ordering a new copy of your birth certificate or marriage verification means travelling in person to the state capital, something largely impossible for senior citizens or people with day jobs…you can also wait 6-8 weeks to have it mailed to you and pay $22 plus up to $19.95 in mailing costs.”
This law could make Texas politics heavily bogged down by male politicians and male voices to benefit the male population. Senator Van De Putte put it best, “at what point does a female senator have to raise her voice or her hand to be heard over her male colleagues in the room?”
A huge population has to jump through hoops and barriers just to exercise their constitutional right and have their voice heard on issues that directly affect them. It’s no wonder Wendy Davis had to take a stand on abortion access. I feel like the longer I live in the Texas, the further back I go in history. The November 5th elections are approaching and Texas residents should vote early to avoid any possible problems with the new voting law in place. When it comes to disfranchising populations, Texas does it just a little big bigger. Yee-haw.