LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A new voting law in the State of Texas is changing the way most are going to be able to vote this coming election.
Now, the rules state you will have to show a photo identification card, despite previous years where just a regular identification card was appropriate to be approved to vote. But that's not all.
"In addition to the fact that it is a photo requirement, it sounds like that should be simple enough, but the law is requiring that we do a perfect match," Thelma "Midget" Sherman, the Angelina County Tax Assessor-Collector, said.
That's right. Not only do you have to show a photo I.D., but your name on your I.D. and voter I.D. card has to match perfectly.
"A lot of men, they use just initials for their name like J.R. Smith. When their name could be James Lewis Smith and so their driver's license may have James Lewis Smith, but on their voter roll they have J.R.," Sherman said.
And that won't fly with the new law, Sherman says. The law is a way to prevent fraudulent voting in the state, especially for those that are illegal immigrants or are voting for the deceased.
"I don't feel that we have that problem in our county, but it's to prevent people from voting that shouldn't by allowing everyone to vote that should and are eligible," Sherman said.
However, there are some exceptions, such as those with disabilities or religious objections.
For those with disabilities, they must have written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing the applicant has a disability or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rate of 50 percent. Also those that have religious objections to be photographed or who do not have a valid form of photo identification because of a natural disaster declared by the President of the United States are exempt.
But Sherman says women run the risk of having more issues with the law change.
"Some women have been married more than once. So you may have on former name on your record and now you're someone else and you're drivers license has a completely different name. Then you aren't a match," Sherman said.
But those who aren't a match still have options to vote.
"If you don't match exactly then you need to come in and get a change form and get it corrected so we won't have the confusion when you come into vote," Sherman said.
The new law hasn't been implemented in all counties yet in the state, so most voters will have until 30 days before election day on November 5 to apply to change or get a new application to vote. This means the deadline to send in an application to vote or a change of address or name will be on October 7.
"This is going to be a small election and it will give us kind of an idea of what it will be like for March whenever the primary comes. We want to make sure we put this behind us so we don't have the long lines for the big elections," Sherman said.
For more information on how you can change your voter ID information, visit votetexas.gov or call Sherman at (936) 634-8376.