AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early voting starts in just a weeks in Texas, but there’s some work required before you arrive at the polls.
Unlike in 21 other states and Washington D.C., same day voter registration isn’t allowed in Texas. Instead, you’ll need to register to vote at least 30 days before the election. For the election on Nov. 3, you have until the end of Monday to either file the form in person or have a mailed form postmarked.
You also can’t just fill out a form online. In Texas, you need to print out the form and mail it back, or drop it off in person.
With few exceptions, you’ll need to make sure to bring some form of official photo ID with you when you go to vote.
These seven are all accepted:
- Texas Drivers License
- Texas Election ID Certificate
- Texas Personal ID Card
- Texas Handgun License
- U.S. Citizenship Certificate
- U.S. MIlitary ID Card
- U.S. Passport
With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, which does not expire, for voters aged 18-69, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place. For voters aged 70 or older, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.
Here is a list of the supporting forms of ID that can be presented if the voter does not possess one of the forms of acceptable photo ID and cannot reasonably obtain one:
- copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate;
- copy of or original current utility bill;
- copy of or original bank statement;
- copy of or original government check;
- copy of or original paycheck; or
- copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).
After presenting one of the forms of supporting ID listed above, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.
Absentee voting is a bit of a sticky wicket this year. There are very strict rules about who can do it, including those 65 and older, people out of the country, incarcerated folks, and those who are sick or disabled.
However, Harris County has plans to mail absentee voter applications to all registered voters through the greater Houston area. That plan is on hold though until a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court.
If you don’t want to vote on election day, you’re in luck. Early voting will start six days earlier in Texas because of the pandemic. It runs from Oct. 13-30.
However, members of the GOP, Governor Greg Abbott’s own party, are suing to stop those extra six days from happening. They said it defies election law.
Voting as a Felon
If you’ve been convicted of a felony in Texas, you’re not allowed to vote until you’ve completed your entire sentence, including prison time, parole and probation.