As we explained in a story today, lawsuits over political maps have blocked Tarrant County's election officials from doing all but the bare minimum in planning for this year's primaries. Since late last year, the primaries have been pushed from early March to early April and then to late May, though a federal judge has said the primaries could end up in June.
Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn highlights a separate concern facing his election office and likely other ones around the state: the legal limbo of Voter ID legislation.
Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill last year requiring Texas voters to show photo identification at the polls. The law is still waiting on federal approval. Whether the law will be in effect for May elections impacts the language on several signs and forms the Tarrant County Elections Office needs to order.
The big one, Raborn says, is a special envelope used with provisional ballots that voters can cast if there’s a question about their eligibility. If the lack of a photo ID is why a voter might need to cast such a ballot, the new law requires that the ballot envelope reflect that.
"It's one of those things where you can’t just go to Wal-Mart and buy provisional ballots. You have to have them printed up," Raborn said. "At some point, we’ve got to be able to pull the trigger and know what forms we’re using."