Elections
A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine in the garage of Tom and Carol Marshall, which was made into a polling location in the neighborhood, during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser) A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine in the garage of Tom and Carol Marshall, which was made into a polling location in the neighborhood, during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)  

Voter turnout in Texas nearly doubles under new ID law

The first Texas elections under a contentious new photo ID law drew interesting conclusions for an off-year election that normally draws a low amount of voters.

There were nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, and the number of votes tallied was nearly double what it was in 2011. Democrats and civil rights groups have long argued that voter ID requirements suppress turnout, particularly in poor and minority communities.

All nine measures were approved during this election, and dealt primarily with taxes and state budgets, according to Ballot Pedia.

Taxes and state budgets were also the most popular ballot measures for 2011, but the voter ID law had not been passed during that election.

Statewide, an average of about 672,874 Texans voted on those 10 constitutional amendments in 2011. In 2013, the number of votes cast in Texas reached 1,099,670.

In Hidalgo County, which is 90 percent Hispanic, just over 4,000 voted in the constitutional amendment election in 2011. In 2013, an average of over 16,000 voted according to the Texas secretary of state’s office.

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general and likely governor nominee, stated that critics of the voter ID law had “run out of claims” about those struggling to vote without an ID.

That hasn’t stopped opponents of the voter ID law from continuing their mission to get the law thrown out. The Houston Chronicle reports that the Justice Department, civil rights groups and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey have filed a federal lawsuit to get the law overturned.

Abbott has asked for the case to be thrown out, calling the whole situation “overhyped.”