Texas forces Dem candidate for governor to file affidavit to vote

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Wendy Davis, a Democrat who is running for governor of the Lone Star State in 2014, attempted to vote early in this year’s elections in Fort Worth when she was told by poll workers that she had to sign an affidavit to vote under Gov. Rick Perry’s new voter disenfranchisement law.

The candidate’s identification showed both her maiden and married names, Wendy Russell Davis, while the voter registration rolls only included her married last name, reading “Wendy Davis.” Because the names didn’t match exactly, she was required to sign an affidavit to vote.

Davis then told reporters that she was worried that the extra requirements would discourage women from voting whose names had changed because of marriage or divorce, particularly if they were forced to leave the polls and return with marriage or divorce documentation.

Meanwhile, male voters, who are more likely to vote for Republicans than Democrats (unlike female voters who are more likely to vote the opposite way), would rarely face a similar extra barrier to exercise their right to vote.

Proponents of the new restrictions fall back upon the canard that the new restrictions are needed to prevent voter fraud, something that there is scant evidence for and it seems very likely the new restrictions will stop more legitimate voters from casting their ballot than it will prevent fraudulent ballots from being cast. Numerous critics have blasted Perry’s intentions:

“Texas Governor Rick Perry’s voter ID law is a blatant effort to defeat Wendy Davis by disenfranchising tens of thousands of women voters,” Democratic Governors Association senior adviser and spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote in a recent fundraising email a week earlier. “Gov. Perry and his handpicked successor, Greg Abbott, are trying to undo the voting rights women fought for-a century ago! It’s downright anti-democratic. If Wendy had been Texas’ governor, she would have stopped it cold.”

Photo: Wendy Davis. Nick Wass/AP


Kenneth Quinnell
Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell is Senior Writer at AFL-CIO