Will Voter ID Law Help to Clean Up Cameron County elections?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 11:09am

The state of Texas has sued in federal court for permission to enforce the very controversial Voter Identification Law that passed in 2011.

News Center 23 reporter Na'Tassia Finley has more on whether or not this law will really have an impact in keeping out local elections, here in Cameron county, honest.

It's geared at protecting the integrity of political elections.

"It is good, we need to have proof that it is actually that person," says a supporter of the Voter ID Law.

The controversial Voter ID Law is intended to deter and detect voter fraud, a problem seen statewide.

"If it prevents fraud then that's a positive I think," says a supporter of the Voter ID Law.

Under the law passed in Texas last year, voters must show a government-issued photo ID, like a Driver’s License, Elections ID card, a DPS identification card, a Military ID, a US Citizenship card, a US Passport or a Concealed Handgun License.

On Monday, Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, filed a lawsuit with the federal government regarding the constitutionality of the Lone Star state being able to enforce that voters show one of those types of IDs before casting their vote.

The holdup regarding this outcome is currently placing the Cameron County Elections Office at a standstill.

"We are going to have to prepare to notify the public of the requirements and what avenues they have, to acquire a voter ID, if they don't have one," says Cameron County Elections Administrator, Roger Ortiz.

Until they're directed by the state, the elections office doesn't know whether or not they need to start sending out advisories to registered voters.

On another front, will the Voter ID Law be beneficial here in Cameron County?

The president for a voter watch group here in Cameron County, Citizens Against Voter Abuse, also known as CAVA, says that while the Texas Voter ID Law will be beneficial to our Cameron County elections, our voter fraud issues lie elsewhere.

"Our voter fraud has historically been in the mass theft of mail in ballots, via forced signatures, or huge numbers of mail in ballots taken from the elections office by people who paid to do exactly that, take votes," says CAVA President, Mary Helen Flores.

Flores says that those targeted are usually the elderly who live alone or those that live in assisted living facilities.

Here's where her concerns lies, under this Voter ID Law, anyone who’s disabled or over the age of 65 can still vote by mail, which allows them to use mail-in ballots without having to provide photo identification.

So, will our voter fraud in Cameron County really be addressed with this Voter ID Law, considering those voting by mail, where the majority of our fraud lies, do not need proof of ID to cast their vote.

Either way, Flores says every effort to make our elections process clean is a step in the right direction, but she says we have deeper issues regarding voter fraud here in our county, that need to also be addressed.

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