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What do I need to vote in Texas?

What do I need to vote in Texas?

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, today, March 1, 2016, is election day in Texas for the Democrat and Republican primaries.  One major change in today’s election versus previous elections is Texas’ new Photo ID law.

What do I need to vote in Texas?

Under Texas Election Code Chapter 63, Texas voters are now required to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.  Approved forms of photo identification include:

  • 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 license to carry a handgun 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

What if I don’t have any of those and I need to vote in Texas?

There are a few exceptions to the photo identification law in Texas.  First, a person who is disabled is allowed to apply for a permanent exemption from the law.  In order to apply, your application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing you have been determined to have a disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent.

In addition, you must state that you have no valid form of photo identification. If you obtain a disability exemption (BEFORE election day) will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption. Please contact your voter registrar for more details.

What if I need to vote in Texas TODAY and I don’t have an exemption or photo ID?

Even if you do not have any of those forms of identification or an exemption, you are entitled to cast a PROVISIONAL ballot. The election official at the polling place is required under law to give you that option.

Your provisional ballot will only be counted IF:
1. You are legally entitled to vote:
2. You are voting in the correct precinct; AND
3. You show your approved photo ID to the election registrar within 6 days of the election.

The election official is required under law to provide you with all the information you need to make your provisional ballot count (including where you need to present your ID).

Failure to allow you to cast a provisional ballot is a criminal offense, and the election official can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Really?  Do I need to vote in Texas today?

Yes!  The voting process is the most important power we as citizens have in controlling our future and the direction our country takes for us and our children.  I know that many times it feels like one, small vote is so inconsequential compared to the billions of dollars that flow in and out of our government officials’ offices.

The one thing that keeps our officials in check is our power at the ballot box.  The one power the writers of the Constitution gave each of us is the ultimate power in this country.

When we as citizens stop exercising our rights, we give the government carte blanche to take them away.  Don’t let this happen.  Make your voice heard today and in all future elections.

Go out and vote today even if the only reason you’re voting is to cancel out my vote.

[photo credit: Clare]

 

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