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Don’t Drive? It’s Getting Harder to Vote in Texas

Today is the first federal general election since the Supreme Court struck down key portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Texas and other states have taken full advantage of their new ability to make changes to their voting rights laws without federal approval. And under the new law, people without a driver's license are finding themselves disenfranchised.

Without a valid Texas drivers license, many registered voters are finding themselves disenfranchised. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/athrasher/2965451844/in/photolist-95cxQr-9JAy66-5zoGVG-95CyRJ-i5e3jX-5w3KvS-gTKTdq-a7wMAT-5w3Hw5-5vYuX4-aj7BCv-9YMp3r-an2x1D-8JnnQC-6SCqom-a4Vc83-91T9Fk-5zsqey-4tpFtF-4ttMMS-awvHe-5xBjcC-5zo8Eg-4z6vEw-4z6vAj-5w3Xrf-5vYq4c-5w3GJS-drahms-4tpJVa-aww8h-4wg3qj-4wg3xQ-4twvxe-27YQW-4z6vDo-aww3m-4z2gm8-5wakHY-5w5ZQt-5wam81-5w5ZAK-5w5Zox-5w5ZYP-5wakZ7-c49ttG-4w6g5e-8QaPFi-4twvki-4twvmk##Andy/flickr##
Without a valid Texas drivers license, many registered voters are finding themselves disenfranchised. Photo: Andy/Flickr
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The Brennan Center for Justice has gathered stories of would-be voters who have been frustrated at the polls over the past few days of early voting. Poll workers are even turning away people who have ID, just not a current Texas driver's license.

Voter ID laws like the one causing so much trouble in Texas today disproportionately disenfranchise people who don't drive, the Brennan Center has previously reported [PDF]. People without a license may have a hard time getting to the necessary offices to obtain the paperwork they need to exercise their voting rights. And many of the offices issuing the IDs are located well outside the reach of transit.

When states were enacting the recent wave of voter ID laws in 2012, Streetsblog contributor Fran Taylor warned, "The implications are clear: If you don’t drive, you become a second-class citizen." In states where the political landscape is already tilted against people who can't afford a car, participating in the democratic process is getting harder.

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