Voter ID law continues to stir controversy in East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Voter ID law continues to stir controversy in East Texas

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CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) -

Early voting started yesterday, and after the supreme court ruled in favor of Senate Bill 14, everyone who plans to vote must have an approved form of ID.

The forms of ID include a Texas driver's license, Texas election ID, concealed handgun license, military card, passport, or citizenship certificate. The ID must show a photo of the voter.

Even though the court felt that this was appropriate to avoid voter fraud, people like activist Billy Groves, owner of Crockett's 'Groves Standard' believe it's a form of discrimination.

"They're just now reaching the point in their lives where they can come in the courthouse free of fear and intimidation, and now here we go again. You have to prove yourself, you have to re-establish yourselves as Americans," said Groves.

The ID must not only include a photo, but it must be up to date. Older people with expired driver's licenses would not be able to cast a vote.

Groves said that in small towns, like Crockett, everyone knows one another. He believes asking for an ID breaks the sense of trust that the people have with one another.

"You meet confrontation. You meet doubt. It throws you back psychologically, spiritually, and also, it's un-American," said Groves.

He says that among talking to other voters, he feels that this law will cause the voter turnout to decrease.

On the other hand, county clerks in Nacogdoches, Houston, and Trinity County say that so far, everything is running smoothly.

"Well in this county, we're small, and we haven't come across that problem yet," said Bridget Lamb, the Houston county clerk.

Trinity County clerk, Shasta Bergman, said, "The possibility of voter fraud is limitless if you don't have something like this in place to prevent that from happening. It puts integrity in the election process. It makes voters safe."

Groves disagreed with the statement. He says this law reminds him of the poll taxes of earlier times. He says some people just honestly don't have the money to go out and buy a license.

Bergman said that ways to obtain free appropriate forms of ID have been created for those people.

"If someone goes through your mail and gets your voter registration card, without this law, he/she would be able to steal your vote. As a voter, this law makes me feel safe. I am confirming my identity with my photo ID. No one can steal my vote," she said.

Groves believes that voter fraud is not a concern. He solely feels that the law has been put in place to hinder certain groups from voting. He says African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and even poor White people are among those who would be affected by Senate Bill 14.

"It's very much an inconvenience, to change the things that have been going on all the while. When you know that they are honest and they just don't have that money. They don't want to be hassled and doubted on their word. It just breaks the moral of the country. It brakes the spirit of the people, " he said.

The county clerks say that they will be able to tell if this law affects the voter turnout after final voting numbers are in.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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