– Attorney General Ken Paxton today praised Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Joan Huffman for their efforts in preserving Texas’ Voter ID law. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit identified two changes the law should include: free birth certificates to obtain Voter ID and a declaration for voters who do not have and cannot reasonably obtain acceptable photo identification. Last session, the Legislature unanimously approved Senate Bill 983 to remove any fee associated with birth certificates used to obtain photo identification. This session, the lieutenant governor reserved the priority designation of Senate Bill 5 for legislation to address the declaration, which Senator Huffman filed today.
“Election integrity is one of the most important functions of government, and Voter ID is an integral part of maintaining election integrity,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The updates to Voter ID that Senator Huffman proposes will make the changes necessary to comply with the Fifth Circuit ruling while ensuring the integrity of the voting process. The leadership of Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Senator Huffman are critical to Texas’ ability to use its Voter ID law in the future.”
Senate Bill 5, if passed, will make the following changes to the Voter ID statute:
- Allowing voters to cast a ballot if they have an approved secondary form of identification and execute a declaration indicating they are who they say they are and do not have and cannot reasonably obtain approved photo identification for one of several specified reasons.
- Allowing voters to use otherwise acceptable photo identification that is more than 60 days expired if they execute a declaration stating that they cannot obtain a new form of photo identification for one of the several specified reasons.
- Establishing a criminal penalty for knowingly making a false statement on the declaration as up to a third degree felony.
- Allowing voters over age 70 to cast a ballot using expired, otherwise acceptable, photo identification.
- Requiring the Texas Secretary of State to establish a mobile program for issuing election identification certificates.
The bill is co-authored by state Senators Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Dawn Buckingham, Konni Burton, Donna Campbell, Brandon Creighton, Craig Estes, Bob Hall, Kelly Hancock, Don Huffines, Bryan Hughes, Lois Kolkhorst, Jane Nelson, Robert Nichols, Charles Perry, Charles Schwertner, Kel Seliger, Larry Taylor and Van Taylor.