There have been few problems to go along with few voters during the early voting period leading into Tuesday’s election, county officials report. 

As of Tuesday night, less than 2 percent of the county’s 184,000 registered voters had cast ballots.

That’s not unexpected, given that for most of the county the only issues are nine state constitutional amendments up for consideration. Even with three local elections — Bolivar Emergency Services District sales tax proposition, the Water Control Improvement District No. 6 bond proposal and four city of Friendswood bond proposals — voter turnout was not expected to be more than 3 percent once the votes are counted.

Voter turnout has been higher in Friendswood as more than 1,000 people cast ballots as of Tuesday night.

But as the first countywide election under the state’s new Voter ID law, County Clerk Dwight Sullivan, whose office manages the county’s elections, was proud to report all has been smooth.

“The voter ID requirements are not causing an issue or keeping people from voting regularly in Galveston County,” Sullivan said. “The low number of provisional ballots — 0.14 percent of the total votes cast so far — would indicate that people coming to vote have the appropriate form of identification.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety backs Sullivan’s statistics, where the demand for state-approved photo identifications for election purposes has been extremely low.

DPS officials said since the department started offering election identification certificates during the summer, only 104 have been issued statewide.

“There have also been more than 1,300 inquires,” the DPS said in a statement. “Many of the individuals who have inquired about (election identification) already had the necessary photo identification required to vote.”

Those with a proper form of identification cannot apply for an election identification certificate. There are seven acceptable forms of identification for voting, including the DPS-issued election identification.

That includes a Texas driver’s license, a Texas-issued personal identification card, a U.S. passport, Texas concealed handgun license, U.S. military identification or a U.S. citizenship certificate or certificate of naturalization with photo.

“Bottom line is that requiring the presentation of a photo ID in order to vote regularly at the polls does not seem to be a problem” Sullivan said.

Not so, said David Miller, the president of the Galveston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

He said the Voter ID restrictions, which were a hassle for his grandson, who is among the 104 who received a voter identification from the DPS, help suppress the vote, especially among minority voters.

Miller said the Voter ID law and stealth practices make it difficult for many people to vote.

“It’s hard enough for minorities to get off their butts and go vote,” Miller said. “If they run into a problem, they just give up.”

Miller complained of voter intimidation tactics, although he didn’t note any specifically during this election, as a means to suppress the vote.

He complained that the process of identifying “similar name” voters has been confusing. Voters whose name is one way on the voter registration roles and similar but different on their form of identification are asked to sign an affidavit to update the county’s election records.

Doing so, though, is optional, county elections coordinator Bill Sargent said.

Still, said Miller, many people are not trusting of the system.

“And if they have a bad experience, they go home and tell their family and their friends and soon word spreads and there’s a bunch of people who don’t want the hassle to vote,” Miller said.

Miller said he worries that when there’s an election that will really draw voters, there will be problems thanks to Voter ID.

Early voting concludes Friday. Election day is Tuesday.


 

At a glance

Voter turnout for the Tuesday general election

POLLING LOCATION VOTERS

Joe Faggard122

GC Justice Center242

Bayou Vista80

West County257

Nessler Center202

Carver Park46

Dickinson132

Bacliff94

Calder Road333

Friendswood1,013

TOTAL: 2521

PROVISIONAL BALLOTS CAST: 3

SIMILAR NAMES: 119

REGISTERED VOTERS: 184,120

SOURCE: Galveston County Elections Division of County Clerk’s Office

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

(15) comments

Carlos Ponce

David Miller as president of the Galveston NAACP should help those without a photo ID get one if he feels there is a problem and especially if they are his relatives. As I posted earlier in response to a letter to the editor: to vote in the state of Texas you need to be a registered voter. According to Texas attorney General Greg Abbott "Just giving to the Texas Department of Public Safety your voter registration card is enough for you to be able to get the photo ID. So it'll cost you nothing, and the state of Texas will give it to you for free. If you don't have a photo ID on the day of the election, you cast what's called a provisional ballot, and you can even go get the photo ID after the election takes place. That's how easy it is. And so there's no excuse." As the article states the Voter ID Law is working in Galveston County.

Ellen Morrison

Well, I'm not necessarily for Voter ID laws, but Mr. Miller seems to shoot himself in the foot with his comments.

George Croix

“It’s hard enough for minorities to get off their butts and go vote,” Miller said. “If they run into a problem, they just give up.”
WOW!!!!
What a thing to say by someone supposedly an advocate.
I would ask Miller if he's given any thought to who's fault that would be, if true?

Walter Manuel

I agree with all previous posts!

This statement made by Mr. Miller is simply grasping for straws in order to avoid the new state law:

"And if they have a bad experience, they go home and tell their family and their friends and soon word spreads and there’s a bunch of people who don’t want the hassle to vote,” Miller said".

I think if I honestly felt that someone was trying to keep me from voting, I'd do everything in my power to make sure that I did no matter what extreme that I might have to go through.

Mr. Miller should really try to come up with a better excuse in the future if he really wants anyone to buy into his credibility. [wink]

Gary Miller

If Democrats think their voters are too lazy or stupid to get a free photo ID why don't they get it for them?
They rent busses and vans to haul their voters from the projects to polling places. Is it too much to use those busses and vans tp take their "hermit" voters to DPS stations.
I say hermit voters because nearly all personal activites require an ID.
Could be some of those voters don't qualify for an ID or voting?
How did they register to vote in the first place?

If voter ID was supposed to repress turnout it didn't work
Other states with voter ID report women and minority turnout has increased.

Kevin Lang

If it wasn't for the fact that I fly a fair amount, I could count on one hand the number of times I have to pull out my driver's license in a six month period. And I participate in quite a few personal activities. I don't know what personal activities you participate in, but I'd have to say that your statement needs some clarification to pass the smell test. Either that, or I'm missing out on A LOT of personal activities.

You know, if it were MY idea, and I wanted to prove I'm not exclusionary, I would make sure that that the people most affected got to the DPS with the right paperwork.

Overall, I'd say that the number of people truly impacted by voter id rules is pretty small. If voter turnout amongst women and minorities has increased, I'd say that voter id is immaterial. I know NO ONE that has said that they'd vote, except for the fact that no one was checking IDs.

George Croix

If we are to believe the statements made in the article , which show unusual candor considering the subject matter, for which the speaker is to be congratulated, I'd have to say it's supportive of positions taken by some of us herein. Namely, that 'disenfranchisement' is a blame game used to cover for lack of involvement and/or action when personal effort is required.
My Great Aunt Nancy used to call that one word...'jussplainlazy'.
She may have been oversimplifying a bit...and of course one size never fits all...[beam]

George Croix

Prove NOT exclusionary?
Horsestuff...
That's just a 'progressive' take on the old 'have you stopped beating your wife' dodge. That boy has cried wolf one too many times...
How about a demonstration of a bit of 'inclusionary' participation in the process of good citizenship. LEGAL good citizenship, that is.
Nobody worth knowing pays any attention anymore to bogus 'racist' or 'exclusionary' tags or any other label seeking to damn the messenger when the message he's delivering is unpopular.
Pretending to be a victim whenever it's convenient demeans REAL victims of REAL injustice.

Kevin Lang

And, your choice is to ignore the real victims because you don't want to go through the effort of weeding out the phonies.

George Croix

No no no no. I'd very much like to weed out the phonies. In fact, many of them essentially having stolen from taxpayers, I'd like to put those people guilty of such in jail for a while.
PART of the weeding out of the phonies is Voter ID. No jail time involved, but may well prevent the election of idiots who SHOULD be in jail...
Difference is, some of us are willing to start somewhere, while others are content to never get beyond status quo. And we don't assume people are as dumb or helpless as our 'progressive' fellow citizens do.
Why not show a little faith in your fellow man to stand on his own two feet when possible, rather than try to make him lean on your shoulder when not necessary?
I've never understood why liberals and 'progressives' hate and demean poor people so much. Always wanting to keep them poor and dependent, and assume they need help with everything.
Shameful to treat other humans that way...

Kevin Lang

Then, quit saying that people that do have significant issues with obtaining the ID cards as lazy, undeserving, or playing to the progressive victim mentality. If the process is more cumbersome for someone than it is for you or me, I think we should look into it and try finding a reasonable solution.

I certainly don't believe there's an intended census group of otherwise legal voters that may be inconvenienced, but that doesn't mean that there aren't issues.

Your last two paragraphs appear to be addressed to someone else. My position is that you can't pretend that there aren't people out there that may be unduly inconvenienced just so you don't have study it and figure out how to address the issues.

Brenda Bock

I voted yesterday & yes, my middle name vs maiden name was in conflict with the computer records. In the time it took to print the voter bar code, the form was completed by the volunteer. No big deal - no hassle - no problem. Good job by Galveston County. Now its up to registered voters to just VOTE !!!

George Croix

No no no no.
Here's a clue: The Constitution does NOT guarantee people will not be inconvenienced.
Now, read the nice lady who posted at 11:47 this morning for a real world resolution to the horrible, insurmountable, TERRIBLE 'disenfranchisement' problem that comes with voter ID.
Somehow, she managed to vote in spite of so many claiming it too 'cumbersome'.

Kevin Lang

How about we put everyone in front of the gecroix & IHOG citizenship panel? Seems you two have a better idea of who should be voting than even Perry does.

:-)

Lars Faltskog

Jim Wright (a presumeably wealthy man with resources) had difficulty updating his voter ID eligbility. If a wealthy, educated person - who has someone to drive him to the ID places - if he has trouble getting the "OK" to vote, think of the thousands of immobile/elderly/poor citizens who are in the same quandry.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.