Tomorrow is Election Day, and in addition to the much-publicized voter I.D. law, a weather forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow and recent flooding events could hurt voter turnout. Some voters have also expressed concern about the need to sign an affidavit if the name on their photo I.D. does not exactly match the name on their voter registration.
Some worry that the affidavit is one more hoop to jump through in order to get to the vote itself. Travis County Clerk, Dana Debeauvoir, told KUT News the voter I.D. law and affidavits may throw off some voters at the polls, which requires voters to initial next to their names as proof of identification.
“[This is] a practice for both the voters and for the elections office. Because for the voters, they’re going to be going through the process that asks them for I.D., and asks them new questions that they’re not been asked before. So they’re going to be a little taken aback,” says Debeauvoir.
But she emphasizes that any issues with voter identification will not be as problematic tomorrow as they would be in a more high-profile election.
Debeauvoir says that the affidavit will be used for statistical purposes to measure how many voters require the affidavit, or how many people need a provisional ballot due to improper identification. One state official and gubernatorial candidate will be included among those requiring an affidavit: Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Abbott recently made headlines when he had to sign an affidavit because his legal name, Gregory Wayne Abbott, did not exactly match the name on his voter registration, Greg Abbott.
Debeauvoir also expressed concern about the impact last week's floods in Central Texas will have on voters and the potential for poor voter turnout.
“[Flooding] affects everything. I mean, your whole life is turned upside down. So I can sympathize with those folks not thinking about voting,” says Debeauvoir. “If you’ve lost your ID in the flood, you’re not going to have time to get another one. And the law makes no provision for this. If you don’t have an I.D., you’re out of luck.”
Alternatively, displaced voters could use a provisional ballot, which would give the voter six additional days in which they could find an alternative I.D.
Thunderstorms in central Texas are also a worry for tomorrow, and election officials say that they are monitoring weather conditions closely for any potential flooding or electrical outages.
If a voting center needs to be closed for any reason, a notification will be posted at the location itself, and information will also be available on the County Clerk website and through the Travis County voter hotline, (512)238-VOTE.