New Texas Voter ID Law Almost Kept Judge From Voting For Using Maiden Name

| by Khier Casino

A strict new law that requires Texas voters to present all forms of identification in order to cast a ballot officially went into effect Monday, when early voting began the following day for the Nov. 5 election.

The Huffington Post reports that voters will have to present one of the following photo IDs: a Texas driver’s license, a Texas personal ID card, a Texas concealed handgun license, a U.S. military ID card, a U.S. citizenship certificate, or a U.S. passport. If the voter cannot provide one of the documents, they can prove their citizenship by requesting one of the new Texas Election Identification Certificates created to facilitate the voter ID law.

But a Texas District Court Judge experienced the strictness of the voter laws when she was almost denied the right to vote because she changed her name after getting married in 1964.

“What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts told KIII-TV.

Based in Corpus Christi, Watts has been voting in every election in the last 49 years. After 52 years, the name on her driver’s license has stayed the same, and the last time she changed her address was more than two decades ago.

However, it was still not enough to convince voting officials when Watts came in Tuesday for early voting because the name on her voter registration is different from her Texas ID. Watts uses her maiden name as her middle name now, and her married name is now her last name.

"Someone looked at that and said, 'Well, they're not the same,'" Watts said.

She was told by voting officials that she would have to sign a "voters affidavit" saying it is her. Filing a provisional ballot the other option, but it requires additional voter verification and would have taken several days to be counted.