Civil rights attorney on voter ID law: 'Everybody knows somebody who's going to have a problem'

Published: Oct. 14, 2013 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A national civil rights attorney made stops in East Texas Monday, visiting with communities about Texas' new voter ID law.

Sonia Gill is an attorney representing the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a group that has filed a lawsuit to repeal the recently implemented law.

She said her priority during her stops in Longview and Mt. Pleasant today was to make sure voters know what to expect in upcoming elections.

"When I go out and speak to some of the churches, everybody knows somebody who's going to have a problem getting documents required to vote," Gill said.

Texas recently re-implemented the law, after the Supreme Court narrowly overturned part of the Voting Rights Act. Those provisions required Texas to clear any new voting laws with the federal government.

While supporters argue various forms of identification qualify for in-person voting, Gill said the debate is not that simple.

"A lot of folks born out in the country by mid wife don't have a birth certificate," Gill said. "Even if they can produce birth certificate, for women--for example--who get married ,their names may have changed. A lot of these people don't have access to transportation. Either there is no public transportation or they don't have a car. It's just a very cumbersome process for people who have been voting for years."

The group has also published what they call a "map of shame," based on states' voter ID laws. It's a list that highlights Texas.

"Just because you don't have photo ID, it does not make you less of a citizen," Gill said. "It does not make you less qualified to vote. It was a right that was fought for very hard and that is an act that people want to go and experience in person."

For voters without qualifying forms of identification, mobile stations will be in East Texas this week. Those stations will offer free registration for Election Identification Certificates. You can find those locations here.

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