Texas Voter ID Law Exempts Elderly, Gun Owners

Texas Voter ID Law Exempts Elderly, Gun Owners

Texas Voter ID Law Exempts Elderly, Gun Owners

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 3 2011 10:32 AM

Texas Voter ID Law Exempts Elderly, Gun Owners

In Texas, where Republicans won massive midterm election victories for the state legislature, a bill requiring driver's licenses from voters is sailing through to passage. Democrats failed to amend the law to allow non-photo IDS -- pieces of mail, for example -- as proof enough for voting. Luckily, Republicans and some Democrats have softened the bill to make it easier for two kinds of voters.

- Voters born in 1931 or earlier do not have to show a photo ID.

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- Gun owners who have concealed handgun licenses can use them to prove their identities.

I'll stress it again: These were bipartisan changes to the law. They are also going to help Republican voters. In 2008, a decent year for Texas Democrats but the last one for which exit polls are available, John McCain beat Barack Obama by 34 points among voters who were 65 and older; McCain had only won statewide by 10 points. We don't have a clean poll like this that tells us how gun owners voted in 2008, but the data is clear; gun owners favor Republicans.

Now, it's not easy to get a concealed handgun license. Showing one does prove that you're a citizen. That law makes sense. It just so happens that both of these exemptions benefit Republicans.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.