Tension Over Voter ID at Calallen Polling Place

Tensions ran high on Tuesday at one polling location in Calallen.

First there was a complaint over having to show a photo ID, and then a partisan spat broke out, all at the River Hills Baptist Church off 624.

There was such a concern about what was going on at the polling station that elections administrator Diana Barrera showed up, as did the head of the local Democrats, and there were a few words exchanged.

"If there is somebody that's not let to vote, then I'm going to go in there and make sure they're going to be able to vote," Nueces County Democrat Chairman Joseph Ramirez said. "I don't know if they're Democrat or Republican. They're here at River Hills. I'm assuming they're Republican, but it's their right to vote, and I'm going to make sure it goes on, because from the beginning, Diana, we've been getting complaints everywhere that you guys have been asking for ID's everywhere. Everywhere."

Ramirez was speaking with Barrera about a voter ID incident there at the polling place. It seemed that the matter was settled. What had happened was that a women claimed that election officials told her she needed to show her driver's license, since she didn't have her voter registration card.

Officials said that they did tell her there were a handful of other ways to show legal proof of ID, but when Ramirez showed up with NAACP President Terry Mills to look into the incident, someone came outside and asked him why people like him were always trying to stir up trouble. That didn't help matters, and escalated tensions.

Then, all of a sudden, the election judge came outside and started taking pictures of Terry Mills and his sport utility vehicle. Diana Barrera had to go and admonish the judge, and get her to go back inside and handle the election.

"Well it seems that it's become a partisan thing, and we're trying to get it resolved as well, too," Barrera said.

"And what's up with her taking pictures? I don't know, and shouldn't she be, she should be inside," Ramirez said. "And we asked her to go inside the booth and re-direct her to where she needs to be, in the polling area."

Thing's eventually calmed down at the polling location, and everyone left.

Remember, if you don't have your voter registration card, officials need some other form of ID, like a driver's license, birth certificate or even a utility bill. Anyone standing in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Those showing up one minute later will not be able to cast their ballot.


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