Columbus organizations and politicians talk about a new voter ID law in Texas

Published: Oct. 18, 2014 at 10:26 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2014 at 7:43 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A new strict voter identification law in Texas could turn away about 600,000 voters at the polls, and a large number of these voters would be Latino or African American.

The Supreme Court said Texas can use its strict law for the November election Saturday morning.

The new I. D. law will accept seven forms of approved photo identification in Texas, and it will require voters to bring certain forms of identification to vote. This list approved handgun licenses but not college student I.D.'s which are usually accepted in other states.

Texas Republicans explained this law is needed to reduce voter fraud, while opponents of the law explained it's unconstitutional and it discriminates against a large number of minorities.

Rick Allen, Chairman of Muscogee County Republican Party, said this new law seems reasonable.

"I don't know the entire list of the seven forms of identification that are accepted to vote in Texas," Allen explained. "However, we need to have some kind of document proving that we are citizens. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking for that. I believe everyone should vote, and I understand this law makes it hard for many to do so. However, if you are a valid citizen, I believe you should have at least one of these seven documents anyway's."

Nate Sanderson, the Columbus branch president of NAACP, said he is concerned about this new law.

"I think what's happening in Texas can create a domino effect, and I think we have to be concerned with what's happening in one state, so we don't get caught blind-sided in other states," Sanderson said. "I think passing this strict rule a few weeks before a major election is going to be detrimental to many voters. I think voting shouldn't be hard to do. The process should be easy and everyone should have the right to vote. In my opinion, people already don't participate enough when it comes to voting. The last thing we need to do is come up with regulations to push people away."

Andrew Hunt, the Georgia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, visited Columbus to meet his supported and to host his rally at Scruffy Murphy's Irish Pub and Eatery on Broadway Saturday evening. He also said it's important for all states to agree and have a set of rules where people can voice their opinions.

"We need to make our rules and laws so that many true citizens can get to the polls and vote as readily as possible," Hunt said. "I don't want people to just stay home for this years' election, I want everyone to go out and vote. We don't want rules that might be against certain groups of people, but we need to make sure our rules help our citizens vote without any difficulties."

Hunt also explained Georgia doesn't need to have strict voter identification law since he doesn't think voter fraud is a problem in the state.

"But I think we need to have a paper trail when we vote as well," Hunt added. "If electronic machines malfunction, we might not be getting the accurate numbers. So we need to also have a paper trail so we can reaffirm the actual tally when machines don't work."

The November election will feature notable races, including a U.S. Senate seat as well as Georgia governor.

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