Texas Redistricting, Voter ID Cast Cloud Over 2018

Texas voters face a wave of uncertainty heading into the 2018 elections as the legal battles over redistricting and the state's voter ID laws continue.

Texas lawmakers are expected to pass a revamped voter ID law as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and others all seek re-election next year. 

But Dr. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at Rice University's Baker Institute, says the new law will be so watered down, almost anything will pass as identification.

"It could be a utility bill, a paycheck or any type of government document, pretty much anything that shows current name and address," says Jones.

"Under the current rules, if you sign that affidavit then that's enough," he says.  "The burden is then on the state to prove you aren't who you say you are, whereas in 2014 the burden was on you to prove who you said you were."

While the redistricting battle could discourage some candidates from running, Jones thinks it will also be a non-issue next year.

"The most likely scenario is that we don't have new districts drawn before the 2018 election, which doesn't mean we won't have new districts before the 2020 election," he says.

Other races in 2018 include the state attorney general, land, agriculture and railroad commissioners -- all currently held by Republicans.

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