Photo ID complaints from voters prompt action from Harris County

One of the biggest complaints from voters concerns whether or not they need to have a photo ID at the polls. Some voters say they have been given wrong information about what is needed in order to vote.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - After three days of early voting, Harris County set three all-time records.

However, along with the bigger crowds have come complaints about the process.

Zenez Perez, a spokesperson with the Austin-based advocacy group Texas Civil Rights Project, says the Election Protection hotline, which TCRP is taking part in, has received more than 300 complaints across Texas about early voting since Monday.

The top complaint has been about voter registration, but another big concern has been about confusion over voter ID photos.

“In Harris County and others in the Houston area, we’ve seen some cases where poll workers have incorrectly told voters they need a photo ID to vote,” said Perez. 

TCRP sent a letter Tuesday to the Texas Secretary of State, complaining about “troubling information” coming out of Harris County, along with out-of-date posters showing invalid photo ID rules at polling sites in other major Texas counties, including Bexar, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Hays, McLennan, and Travis Counties.

“They’ve responded by saying they have emailed and contacted some of the county clerks where these things have happened,” said Perez.

“We’ve had a very few small number of people,” said Stan Stanart, Harris County Clerk, when asked if there have been any more complaints since Monday, adding that very few local voters are showing up without a valid photo ID.

“Some locations have had zero, some have had as many as six,” said Stanart.

He also says he’s confident election workers have been properly trained. 

“I’m not gonna say they are 100 percent or getting it 100 percent accurately every time, but they’re very busy there,” said Stanart. “The whole process moves much quicker when people can use their driver’s license, their photo ID to get processed, and that’s why we ask them to pull it out.” 

Since Monday, Stanart says they’ve sent out a memo to workers at all 46 early voting locations, reminding them what they can legally say and what they cannot.

When KHOU 11 went out to Bayland Community Center, one of the complaint sites, on Thursday afternoon, both voters said it was smooth sailing.

“There were some (posters) that showed your photo ID, there were pictures, there was enough information where you could read and where you knew what you had to have,” said Marla Davis, a voter.

Perez says any voters with questions or problems at the polls can call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. 

For more information on polling locations, photo ID rules, and how you can vote if you don’t have a photo ID, click here.


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