The Truth About What ID You Need to Vote in Texas in 2016

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There’s a lot of confusion out there about what ID you need to vote in Texas. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Most important: Voter ID is still the law in Texas, so if you have one of the seven forms of photo ID accepted by the state, you need to bring it with you when you vote. But don’t worry! If you do not have any of these, you will still able to vote. Read on to understand what photo ID you should bring to the polling place, and what to do if you don’t have one of them.

Accepted Forms of ID

If you have one of these, you must show it when you vote.

  • TX Driver’s License issued by the Department of Public Safety
  • TX Personal ID card issued by the Department of Public Safety
  • TX concealed handgun license issued by the Department of Public Safety
  • TX Election ID Certificate issued by the Department of Public Safety
  • US military ID card with your photo
  • US Certificate of Citizenship or US Certificate of Naturalization with your photo
  • US passport book or card

These photo IDs must be current or have expired no more than 4 years before you vote.

The federal court ruling this summer did not strike down the Texas voter ID law completely–rather, it made the state enact provisions for people who are not able to obtain any of these forms of ID, so their votes are counted on Election Day.

It’s not optional. If you have one of these IDs and you don’t bring it with you to the polls, you will be given a provisional ballot, not a regular one. So bring your ID! It’s that simple.

What to Do If You Don’t Have One of These IDs

If you’re a registered voter but do not possess a photo ID listed above, you can still vote a regular ballot. Here’s how:

At your polling place, you will sign a declaration stating that (1) you are who you say you are at the voting booth and (2) have a reasonable impediment or difficulty for having an accepted photo ID (this process should take no time). You will also need to provide an alternative form of identification from the following list:

  • a valid voter registration certificate
  • a certified birth certificate (must be an original)
  • a copy or original of a current utility bill
  • a copy or original bank statement,
  • a copy or original government check or paycheck
  • a government document with your name and an address thereon  (The government document with your photo must be original)

The Secretary of State has the same information on its website.

If you present one of these forms of ID, and sign the declaration, you will vote a regular ballot. If you do not have one of these alternate forms of ID, you can vote a provisional ballot. If you cast a provisional ballot, you’ll need to return to the county registrar’s office with either one of the acceptable photo IDs or submit a temporary affadavit for a natural disaster of religious objection within six days of election day.

Don’t Worry If Your Name or Address on Your ID Do Not Match Your Voter Registration

First of all, your address is not what’s being checked with your ID–it’s your name. The address on your ID does not have to match the address on the voter roles. The address on your voter registration is what’s important, as in, do you still live at that address? If not, you can still vote. You will be given a limited ballot, due to the geographical change, but you can DEFINITELY still vote for president.

If your name does not match exactly with the voter rolls, you will still be able to vote. The election judge will make a determination to see if your name as it appears on your ID is “substantially similar” to the way it appears on the voter rolls. You will be asked to sign an affidavit stating that you are who you say you are. Do not be worried or discouraged if you are asked to do this–you will still be voting a regular ballot that will be counted on election day. However, if your name is substantially similar, or you can point to your date of birth or address as the same on the two, and the election judge questions your identity/wants you to vote a provisional ballot, you should contact 866-OUR-VOTE

The Texas Democratic Party has created an excellent resource page for reporting problems at the polls.

BOR’s Andrea Greer has published a terrific guide to early vote, including all the reasons you should GO VOTE RIGHT NOW! Happy voting!


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Burnt Orange Report

Burnt Orange Report, or BOR for short, is Texas' largest political blog, written from a progressive/liberal/Democratic standpoint.

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