Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Voting in Texas

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Texas’ voter ID law has been in the news a lot lately. First, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos found that the law was unconstitutional because it is, in essence, a “poll tax.” Then, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that no changes could be made in the enforcement of the law before the election.

The two decisions, issued within days of each other, created confusion around an already confusing issue: what does a Texan need to be able to vote?

One of the ways Voter ID laws work to suppress voters across our state (and the country) is by making the process of voting so confusing and difficult that people choose to just stay home. The best way to combat this is by getting informed and spreading accurate information to everyone you know, so no one is dissuaded from voting in this election cycle. To that end, Burnt Orange Report is proud to present Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Voting in Texas.

What do I need to be able to vote?

    You must bring one of six methods of identification with you when you vote. Those are:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport
  • The Election Identification Certificate was created by the Voter ID law in order to provide access to identification for people who do not have a drivers’s license, personal ID, military ID, concealed handgun license, citizenship certificate, or passport. More information about how to obtain an EIC is available here.

Does the address on my ID need to match my registration information?

    No. The only information that needs to match is your name. It does not matter if the address on your ID is different from the address where you are registered.
    Even if there is an issue with your name, you can still vote with a provisional ballot.

Who can vote early?

    Everyone! As long as you are registered to vote, you can go to any early voting polling location in your county to cast your ballot. Early voting in Texas goes from Monday, October 20th through Friday, October 31st.

    It is important to remember that times vary between polling locations, and not every location is open from 7AM-7PM every day. Luckily, there are many ways to get this important information about where and when you can early vote. You can find early voting locations through the Secretary of State’s Office or by contacting your county clerk.

How do I find my polling location?

What is Vote By Mail?

    Vote By Mail is a service for people who cannot get to the polls to vote during Early Vote or on Election Day. It is restricted to specific groups of voters who are:

  • 65 years or older;
  • disabled;
  • out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
  • confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

If you meet one of these requirements, the last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Friday, October 24th. You can find instructions for voting by mail here.

Though Voter ID is confusing by design, we can push back against this attempt to suppress Texas voters by making sure everyone knows the truth about what they need, where they can go, and all of the opportunities to vote in Texas.

If you still have questions about voting in Texas, you can visit the Secretary of State’s Vote Texas website. The Texas Democratic Party also has resources for people with questions about voting, both on their website and through the Texas Votes hotline, which can be reached at 1-844-TX-Votes.

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About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.

2 Comments

  1. Your article missed a small yet important part. Persons with documented disability via VA or SSA may in person appear at the county voter registrar office and get a permanent exemption from the ID REQUIREMENT. I used my SSDI Award Letter.

    This doesn’t mean you won’t have an issue though. When I presented my Dallas county voter registration card with the exemption notation. I was initially denied my right to vote. I had to leave the pennies and call the county office, have them call the judge. Even then the judge attempted to put it on me.

    FYI on election day I serve as an election judge not in my home precinct, I am the Dallas County Election Day Judge at the George Allen Courts bldg on Commerce in downtown Dallas. No exempt voters will be harassed there I can promise that.

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