Texas' 2011 voter ID law has proved a hurdle for a longtime national political figure. Jim Wright, who briefly served as speaker of the US House in the late '80s, realized his expired driver's license and university faculty ID weren't enough to validate his ballot—so he headed to a state Department of Public Safety Office to get a new voter ID. But officials there said no. "Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID," Wright said. So he'll have to go back today with his birth certificate, the Star-Telegram reports.
"From my youth, I have tried to expand the elections," said Wright, who was in Congress from 1955 to 1989. "I pushed to abolish the poll tax. I was the first to come out for lowering the voting age to 18." Now he's concerned about the new laws. "I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote," he notes. But "I think they will reduce the number to some extent." Those who don't have the correct IDs can still cast a ballot tomorrow, officials say; they'll then have six days to present identification to get the vote counted. (Read more Jim Wright stories.)