Democrats in contrast have argued that evidence of

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fraud. Democrats, in contrast, have argued that evidence of voter fraud is minimal and that the law will make it harder for low-income persons, students, and the elderly (all of whom typically support Democrats) to vote.18 Forms of photo identification that are acceptable are a driv-er's license, an election identification certificate, a Department of Public Safety personal ID card, a U.S. military ID, a U.S. citizenship certificate, a U.S. passport, and a Department of Public Safety- issued concealed handgun license.19 Photo ID cards issued by colleges and universities are not acceptable. It remains to be seen if the Texas voter ID law will ultimately be upheld by the Appellate courts. State political leaders, such as Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott, have argued that Texas should not be singled out along with other southern states and subjected to the special scrutiny, and should be allowed to have a voter ID law without any approval process. The You Decide section takes a closer look at this issue. Qualifications to Vote Today, meeting the qualifications to register to vote in Texas is relatively easy. A voter must be 1 . eighteen years of age 2. a U.S. citizen 3. a resident of Texas for 30 days 4. a resident of the county for 30 days To be eligible to vote, one must be a registered voter for 30 days preceding the election and a resident of the voting precinct on the day of the election. Two groups of citizens cannot vote even if they meet all the preceding qualifications: felons who have not completed their sentences and those judged by a court to be mentally incompetent. About 70.3 percent of the state's voting-age population is registered to vote.20 The motor voter law, 21 which allows individuals to register to vote when apply-ing for or renewing driver's licenses, is one factor in increased registration. Public schools distribute voter registration cards as students tum 18. Cooperative efforts between the secretary of state's office and corporations such as Diamond Sham-rock, Stop 'n' Go, and the Southland Corporation (which operates 7-Eleven stores) also increase the number of registered voters. Most colleges and universities also have registration drives to encourage young people to register to vote. In 2011, Texas had about 13 million registered voters out of a voting-age population of just under 18.3 million.22 142 CHAPTER 5 ELECTIONS IN TEXAS
YOU DECIDE Voter Identification Laws In 2011 the Texas Legislature passed a law that would require all vot-ers to present photo identification when they presented themselves to vote in an election. Prior to the law, Texans could present a voter registration certificate, which does not carry a photograph. Not all photo identifications are allowed under the new law. Student identifica-tion cards are not considered valid, but state-issued concealed weapons per-mits are. If a voter shows up to the polls without valid photo identification, they may cast a provisional ballot. They are then required to return to the registrar's

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