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Carlos Cascos

The people who would have been denied the opportunity to vote in 2016

There were a lot of them.

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

At least 16,400 Texans who voted in the November election wouldn’t have been able to cast ballots if the state’s voter identification law had been in full effect, state voting records show.


Through a public records request to the Texas secretary of state’s office, the American-Statesman obtained copies of the more than 16,400 Reasonable Impediment Declarations signed by Texans in the November election. More than 2,300 of the forms, legal affidavits punishable with a perjury charge if found to be false, were signed by Travis County voters.

The voters who signed the affidavits were concentrated in urban areas, with six counties alone — Harris, Travis, Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Hidalgo — accounting for more than half of them.

Those voters arrived to the polls without one of the seven forms of ID, but were able to vote after signing the form and providing a voter registration certificate, birth certificate, utility bill, bank statement, government check or any other government document that included the registered voter’s name and address.

To sign the forms, all of those voters would’ve had to have been registered to vote and to produce documentation proving who they were.


Former Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, an appointee of Gov. Greg Abbott who stepped down after overseeing the November election, said the potential of 16,400 voters being turned away was less worrisome in light of the fact that about 9 million Texans voted.

“When you put it in perspective, to me it’s not a large number,” said Cascos, a Republican.

Asked if that meant those voters would have been disenfranchised, Cascos said, “I would agree. That is a way to look at it.”

And, he observed, the number of potentially disenfranchised voters “might not be important for a presidential race or a statewide race, but it very well might matter for local votes, where there can be really small margins.”

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure every qualified Texan who can vote should be allowed to vote,” he said, “(16,000) people wanted to vote and got to vote, so that’s great.”

Cascos is right – sixteen thousand out of nine million isn’t that much. He’s also right that every single one of them would have been disenfranchised had they been turned away, and for no valid purpose. That sixteen thousand just represents the people who tried to vote. We don’t know how many others didn’t bother to show up because they didn’t know that they could have voted – it’s not like the state’s “outreach” was terribly effective. And those sixteen thousand voters who would have been disenfranchised, plus those however many who actually were in this one election, are way way way more than the total number who have ever been credibly accused of any form of vote fraud. As long as we’re putting things in perspective, let’s keep that in mind as well.

Texas begins its voter ID education outreach

For what it’s worth.

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Texas on Wednesday kicked off a voter education campaign ahead of the November elections amid heightened scrutiny of the state’s voter ID law.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and minority rights groups, the state is required to spend $2.5 million to educate voters about its voter ID requirements. Registered voters will be able to cast a ballot Nov. 8 without a photo ID under the agreement, which came weeks after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ 2011 voter identification law was discriminatory.

The inaugural Vote Texas event on Wednesday, at which Secretary of State Carlos Cascos told students at the University of Texas at Austin to get into the habit of voting at a young age, was planned before the agreement, Cascos said.

“Our role is not necessarily to increase the vote, but I think that with voter education, the voter training that we’re assisting with and reaching out to first-time voters about the importance of registering, that’ll translate into a greater voter participation,” Cascos said in an interview.


Cascos is expected to travel across the state as part of the Vote Texas program. He’s scheduled to speak to Texas State University students in San Marcos on Thursday.

See here and here for the background. I hope there’s more to this than Secretary Cascos touring college campuses, but we’ll have to take the state’s word for it that there is.

And in other voter ID news:

With a tie vote in a closely watched case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a series of voting restrictions in North Carolina to remain blocked ahead of November’s elections. The court handed down an order denying the request by the state to allow it to implement some of the restrictive provisions — provisions that had been struck down and deemed discriminatory in their intent by a panel of judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month.

The order means the appeals court ruling will stand at least through November, while signaling that the Supreme Court is likely split on the larger issue of the legality of the restrictions.

So it’s really really going o matter who gets to finally pick a ninth Justice. Just putting it out there. Rick Hasen and Think Progress have more.