The Texas house just passed a bill requiring voters to present identification at the polls, harsher than any state has passed in recent years, including Indiana.
The goal of these sorts of laws is to decrease the number of voters and myths like the existence of massive voter fraud schemes that steal elections are used to justify them. And when people spend a lot of time and money trying to get people to believe that a nonexistent problem exists, and then their solution to said nonexistent problem is something that doesn't even fully solve the problem but advances their own agenda, people should be suspicious.
Especially since the law in Texas is arbitrary in terms of which forms of ID are accepted, excluding student ID but allowing concealed carry permits while not requiring any ID from people born before 1931, and since Texas Republicans are advocating nothing to lift any of the other barriers associated with voting, it's hard to take these folks at their word that the bill is about nothing other than making democracy function better.
Requiring people to have another piece of paperwork to go vote, in and of itself, is a barrier to voting. Whether it's a big barrier or a small barrier depends on your perspective and experiences while voting and what the state does to help people get past it, but at this point the debate is about how many people will be disenfranchised by these laws, not whether there will be such people. The League of Women Voters estimates that 11% of voters don't have the ID required to vote under Georgia's law, which was less strict than Texas's law.
And one group of people particularly affected are transgender people. A Texas trans org is speaking out against the law:
Lisa Scheps, former executive director of TENT, said the law would have a tremendous effect on transgender people.
"So many times transgender people are cross-identified," Scheps said.
If the photo on a government-issued identification doesn't match someone's presentation, the ID will be questioned and the person may be denied the right to vote, she said. While the transgender community wasn't the main target of this legislation, she said many in the community will be affected.
The same thing was said back when the Supreme Court declared these sorts of laws constitutional back when all the hub-bub was focused on Indiana:
To that end, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) issued a statement critical of the Supreme Court ruling. "NCTE is disappointed in the decision because the law places unnecessarily high burdens on citizens who want to exercise their constitutional right to vote," the statement read. "The law disproportionately affects poor, older, and minority populations, and is an obvious attempt to suppress voter participation," NCTE added.
Depending on where one lives, getting a state driver's license with the correct gender marker and name can be fairly hard. In a state like Texas, whose rules governing transition and the surrounding paperwork are up in the air right now, it can be enough to disenfranchise people. And if someone hasn't gone through changing their paperwork, for whatever reason, showing up looking like one gender but having to show someone you don't know ID that says you're another in front of a crowd of agitated people you don't know, it can be enough to make people ask, "Why bother?"
The silver lining here is that this law has to be approved by the Department of Justice because of Texas's and several other states' history with making sure only the right people show up to vote.