Politifact Texas: Voter IDs in Texas vs. Mexico

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Emily Donahue September 7, 2015 10:45 am,

A Texas elected official says voters in Mexico must present a tamper-proof photo-ID card that includes a thumbprint and an embossed hologram.

Is that a fact?

Gardner Selby of the Austin American Stateman’s Politifact Texas explains to the Standard:

State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller shared a photo meme on his Facebook page of what looks like a Mexican voting credential under the text: “To vote in Mexico every eligible Mexican has to have a tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram.”

The sentiment being: If that’s good enough for Mexico, why not Texas?

The post came a few days after a panel of federal appeals judges agreed with Democratic plaintiffs that there are discriminatory problems with the Texas voter ID mandate approved by the 2011 Legislature. There is more court adjudication ahead.

Politifact Texas called Miller’s political consultant, Todd Smith, who said the commissioner remembered seeing one of the IDs when he was in the Texas House and a colleague was showing it around.

Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler appeared on Time Warner Cable’s “Capital Tonight” in 2011, saying: “If you don’t have this card in Mexico, you don’t vote.” Berman said each card has a photo, fingerprint and “your life’s history.”

Mexico’s National Electoral Institute website says that for about two decades, the government has issued free “photo-voting cards” — “an essential document to exercise the right to vote,” according to the agency. The NEI also says that the front of each card has a color-changing hologram, depending on the angle of light. Plus, a thumbprint on the back of the cards.

Professor Kenneth Greene of the University of Texas at Austin told Politifact Texas that Miller was correct. While a professor in Mexico City sent the team photos of the front and back of his own card, which he says has a hologram and a thumbprint as well.

The team looked into why Mexico instituted the cards in the first place and were reminded of the country’s 1988 presidential election. That year, the government didn’t announce the results — a victory for Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the Institutional Revolutionary Party — until six days after election day. That suspicious grand pause touched off reforms, including the creation of the electoral institute and by the mid-90’s, the mandatory ID card.

The rating?

True: Miller was correct. In Mexico, voters must have a tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram.