Texas voters will have to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Pursuant to the Supreme Court striking down a provision of the Voting Rights Act Tuesday, new voting requirements approved by the Texas Legislature in 2011 are in effect.
Texas previously was required to get approval from the federal government before changing election laws, but that provision has been struck down by the high court.
"Laws that apply unequally to just some states have no place in our nation," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Today's ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect."
Abbott says the state's voter ID law will take effect immediately.
"Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government," said Abbott.
Acceptable forms of photo identification to present when voting include a Texas driver license, Texas personal identification card, U.S. Passport, Texas concealed handgun license, U.S. military ID with photo or a U.S. Citizenship certificate.
Texans who do not have a necessary photo ID for voting can obtain an election identification certificate from the Texas Department of Public Safety starting Wednesday.
To qualify for an EIC, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, a Texas resident, must have a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application when applying for the EIC and must be 17 years and 10 months or older.
Applicants applying for an EIC at a Texas driver license office must present proof of U.S. citizenship and identity.
A temporary receipt with a photo will be issued and it can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.
The EIC is free of charge and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date for citizens 70 years of age or older.
Residents with a documented disability may apply at their county voter registrar for a permanent exemption from the photo ID requirement. If approved, they will not need a photo ID to vote. Also, if individuals are voting by mail, they do not have to submit a photo ID.
"Today's ruling does not abolish the Voting Rights Act. All states, including Texas, continue to be subject to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, which prohibit racial discrimination nationwide," said Abbott.