Advocate says Texas voter ID bill will force transgender people to out themselves at polls

Rep. Van Taylor of Plano believes only the right people should vote.

The Republican-backed voter ID bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday night.

During the floor debate on the bill, Laredo Democrat Richard Raymond asked, “Anytime you deal with a law as comprehensive and as big as this you have to take into account people’s voting rights. You would agree with that, right?”

Plano Republican Van Taylor said, “I think it is important to remember that this bill is about making sure that the right people show up on election day and vote.”

“That the right people show up on election day?” Raymond asked. “Who are the right people?”

As much as any group, the transgender community will be affected if — and when – this bill becomes law.

Katy Stewart of the Transgender Education Network of Texas said her organization opposes voter ID bills.

“This law would make transgender persons out themselves at the polls,” she said.

Lisa Scheps, former executive director of TENT, said the law would have a tremendous effect on transgender people.

“So many times transgender people are cross-identified,” Scheps said.

If the photo on a government-issued identification doesn’t match someone’s presentation, the ID will be questioned and the person may be denied the right to vote, she said. While the transgender community wasn’t the main target of this legislation, she said many in the community will be affected.

“It’s a bad bill,” she said. “One more way to disenfranchise many groups of people.”

—  David Taffet

How to lose an election and still win it

Rep. Van Taylor
Rep. Van Taylor

Van Taylor won the Republican nomination for the Texas House of Representatives District 66 seat in Plano by appealing to Tea Party supporters. He faces no opposition in the November election.

Incumbent Brian McCall resigned to become chancellor of the Texas State University System.

Taylor defeated Mabrie Jackson in the April 13 runoff. But a special election was called for May 8 to fill McCall’s seat for the rest of the current term. Taylor and Jackson both entered the special election.

After losing to Taylor in the runoff, Jackson withdrew from the special election, and Taylor was declared the winner by Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade.

However, Jackson withdrew after the deadline, and the election could not be called off.

The election was held and Jackson received more votes than Taylor.

—  David Taffet