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2016-08-18

Important State of Texas voting information

Special to the Courier

Last week, Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos announced voters would have additional options when presenting ID at the polls for the November election.
“In elections this fall, Texas voters who cannot obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID will have additional options when casting their ballots,” Cascos said. “My agency is working to ensure Texans know about these changes and that all qualified voters are ready to cast a ballot.”
As provided by a court order issued on Thursday, August 11, if a voter is not able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by:
• Signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and
• Providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.
Supporting documentation can be an original, certified birth certificate, valid voter registration certificate or a copy or original of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Noted that government documents that include a photo must be original and cannot be a copy.
If a voter meets these requirements and is otherwise eligible to vote, the voter will be able to cast a regular ballot in the election.
The seven forms of approved photo ID 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 bearer’s photograph
• United States citizenship certificate containing the bearer’s photograph
• United States passport
With the exception of the US citizenship certificate, the approved photo ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
Voters with a disability may continue to apply with the county registrar for a permanent exemption to showing approved photo ID – which now may be expired no more than four years – at the polls.
Also, voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed or who do not present one of the seven forms of approved photo ID because of certain natural disasters – as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor – may continue apply for a temporary exemption to showing approved photo ID at the polls.
Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24, and ends Friday, Nov. 4. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voters with questions about how to cast a ballot in these elections can call 1-800-252-VOTE (8683).