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Texas Photo ID Trial Update: First Witnesses

Testimony from the first witnesses in the Texas Photo ID case: Sammie Bates and Calvin Carrier.

  • Carson Whitelemons
September 2, 2014

After nearly a year of litig­a­tion, the Texas photo ID trial star­ted Tues­day, Septem­ber 2. Visit our trial page for updates from the two-week trial as it proceeds. 


Sammie Bates test­i­fied by video depos­ition on Septem­ber 2nd. Ms. Bates was born in 1940, and is a grand­mother, African Amer­ican, and a voter.

  • Mrs. Bates test­i­fied that she has been voting since age 21. She remem­bers being a child in Missis­sippi, having to help her grand­mother count out money to pay her poll taxes, because she was the only one in her house going to school at the time. This made her “really angry” because, “I didn’t think you should have to pay to vote.”
  • She stated that voting in person is import­ant to her because she wants to see her ballot go into the box.
  • Mrs. Bates test­i­fied that she kept “running into the wall of need­ing her birth certi­fic­ate.” It took her a while to save up the $42 needed to order her birth certi­fic­ate because, “money the way it was…y­ou’re going to put the money where you feel the need is most urgent at the time.” Bates elab­or­ated that feed­ing her family was more import­ant: “we could­n’t eat the birth certi­fic­ate, and we could­n’t pay rent with the birth certi­fic­ate.”

Calvin Carrier is the son of Floyd Carrier, an 83 year old African Amer­ican veteran who had trouble voting because of the new ID require­ments. Both spoke as witnesses and explained the diffi­culties Floyd Carrier faced obtain­ing an ID.

  • Calvin stated that when his father went to vote in Novem­ber 2013, he was unaware of the new require­ments. Floyd brought his expired Driver’s License, his VA card, and his voter regis­tra­tion card. He has gone to the same place to vote for past seven or ten years. Poll work­ers recog­nized Floyd but then asked for his iden­ti­fic­a­tion. He was told his ID was not good enough.
  • Floyd test­i­fied that his father wasn’t told of a provi­sional ballot option, any inform­a­tion about the Elec­tion Iden­ti­fic­a­tion Certi­fic­ate, or the option to vote by mail.
  • Calvin Floyd described the “quest” he went on with his father to try to get ID.  He stated he was told by a DPS agent that he needed a Birth Certi­fic­ate. He sent in  his applic­a­tion (which cost $24 plus $10–12 for a notary fee), and got back a birth certi­fic­ate filled with mistakes. They then had to then send in an applic­a­tion for an amend­ment, which was rejec­ted. Floyd provided addi­tional mater­i­als and sent in another applic­a­tion, which then had to be notar­ized again. He stated that he then heard back that the require­ments had changed and now he needed more docu­ments.
  • When Floyd could not vote in Novem­ber 2013, he stated he was disap­poin­ted in the coun­try: “after all I did for the coun­try, they turned me down.” But he test­i­fied that he has not given up: “I’m here today.”
  • During cross exam­in­a­tion, Calvin Carrier stated that his father wanted an ID for purposes other than voting— that Floyd Carrier would also use this ID “for daily life.”

Visit our trial page for back­ground on the case and updates from the three-week trial.