VoteRiders.org Wants YOU (to Have Proper ID at the Polls): Interview with Selene Gomez
The voter ID laws change all the time, and they vary from state to state. So I asked Selene Gomez of VoteRiders to unpack the particulars, encouraging everyone to check their state's laws to ensure an easy visit to the polls on election day.
The midterms are coming, folks! It's time to make sure you're: 1) registered to vote, and 2) in possession of proper identification so that you'll be allowed to vote on election day. This week, we talked to Selene Gomez, the National Outreach Director * Texas Voter ID Coalition Coordinator for VoteRiders. Her organization focuses on making sure everyone has the proper voter ID in hand before they head to the polls, but this can get complicated — especially for those who face barriers to obtaining, renewing, or updating photo ID.
Click the link at the top of this page to hear our full interview, because she covers details about KS, OK, CO, TX and NE. To request ID help, you can call or text VoteRiders at 1-844-338-8743. You can also visit https://www.voteriders.org/freehelp/. They have volunteers standing by to help navigate the facts about your state's laws, provided in English and Spanish—and financial assistance is also available.
MORE ABOUT VOTERIDERS (from their website): VoteRiders’ mission is to ensure that no eligible voter is prevented from casting a ballot that counts due to voter ID laws, either directly from lack of acceptable ID or indirectly because of voter confusion. VoteRiders educates voters and assists citizens to secure their voter ID. We inspire and support organizations, volunteers, and communities to sustain such voter ID education and assistance efforts.
Registering to Vote is Not Enough
In 36 states, you may also need ID
Voter ID laws require or request that you confirm your identity using specific forms of ID.
You might need to show ID at the polls, include a copy with your absentee ballot application, or enclose one when you vote by mail.
EVERY STATE HAS DIFFERENT RULES
What ID you need depends on where you live. Some states require a document such as a current government-issued photo ID that includes your address and signature. Others will accept a current utility bill or bank statement.
VOTER ID ≠ VOTER REGISTRATION
Voter ID is in addition to the requirements for proving your identity and residency when you register to vote. If it is your first time voting in a federal election (except in North Dakota), please see the federal ID requirements for first-time voters. A federal election is when you vote for the President, your Congressional Representative or your Senators.
Many states send a card that is confirmation of your voter registration details. It typically arrives a few weeks after you register to vote.
A handful of states accept this voter registration card as a form of voter ID. But you will likely need to be prepared with something else when you cast your ballot.
If you want another copy of your voter registration card:
Look up the contact information for your local election officials. This could be your county registrar, clerk-recorder, municipal clerk, or board of elections.
Pro tip: You can probably find a directory on your secretary of state’s website.
Email or call the office and ask for a duplicate voter registration card. They will be able to help you out!
VOTERIDERS HAS YOUR BACK ON VOTER ID
It’s easy to get confused about what you need to vote and getting documents to prove your identity can be complicated.
You can count on VoteRiders to provide accurate and nonpartisan information about what’s required in your state.
Plus: practical, legal, or financial support if you need it!
Our Freedom to Vote is Under Attack
Voter ID laws prevent or intimidate millions of eligible Americans from casting a ballot that counts.
To address this crisis in our democracy, VoteRiders works nationwide to provide voter ID education and assistance to all eligible voters who are in need. We equip voters with what they need to vote with confidence, knowing they cannot be turned away.
BARRIERS TO THE BALLOT
Tens of millions of voters find that obtaining an ID that fulfills voting requirements is costly and confusing. It often requires navigating arcane systems and bureaucratic barriers that cost time and money. All to exercise a basic freedom that should be equally accessible to all Americans.
We also see massive confusion about voter ID rules in EVERY STATE – among voters and poll workers alike. State laws are complicated to understand and often changing. Confusion can easily lead to disenfranchisement for too many Americans unless we take action.
Voter ID laws present a challenge for millions of eligible voters. But they impact some Americans more than others. A Brennan Center survey of US citizens found significant disparities between who has current, government-issued photo ID.
- 11% of voting-age citizens – more than 25 million individuals by current census figures – do not have current (unexpired) government-issued photo identification.
- 25% of Black Americans (1 in four!) voting-age citizens do not have current government-issued photo ID compared to eight percent of white voting-age citizens. Using current census figures, there are about 7,750,000 adult Black citizens without photo identification.
- 18% of American citizens age 65 and above do not have a current government-issued photo ID. Using current census estimates, this amounts to about 7,250,000 senior citizens.
- 18% of citizens aged 18-24 do not have photo ID with current address and name. Using current census tallies, about 5,500,000 young adult citizens are in jeopardy of not being able to vote.
- Voter ID laws also disproportionately impact women. Because most married women change their name, they may still have their maiden name on their driver’s license or voter registration.
The Brennan Center survey found that 48% of voting-age women don’t have easy access to their birth certificates with their current legal name.
Based on current census data, the only available proof-of-citizenship documents possessed by almost 37 million voting-age women do not reflect their current name.