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How to Vote in Texas

Whether you recently got your shiny new drivers license or if you’ve had it for years and it’s torn at the corners, you should take it with you to the polls and VOTE. The Texas primary election is on March 6th, 2018 and the general election is on November 6th, 2018.

People always have excuses for not exercising, (I don’t have time, cardio is just exhausting, WHY IS YOGA AT 6:00 AM), but everyone should exercise their right to vote!

Why should I vote in Texas?

Well, do you have opinions about abortion, health care, student loan debt, the environment, immigration, taxes, and so, so, so much more? If you do, then you should vote for the candidates who support those opinions.

Midterm elections will determine who represents your district (State Senators and Representatives), who represents your state (Governor and US Senators and House of Representatives), and who leads other branches of government, such as the Texas Supreme Court.

The nominees that come out of the primary elections will guide party platforms and go toe to toe with nominees from opposing parties in the general election. Presidential elections are important from a high-level, but policy changes that really affect your day-to-day are usually fought for at the local and state levels. It all starts with your vote!

How do I register to vote in Texas?

All you need to do is mail a voter registration application to your County Voter Registrar office. That’s it? Yup. Easier than parallel parking, the SAT, and most Tasty recipes.

You can obtain a voter registration application by…

  • Filling it out online and then printing it out.
  • Picking one up from most public institutions, like libraries, post offices, the DPS, or even your high school.
  • Requesting that one be mailed to you.

The application must be received or postmarked at least 30 days before election day, so don’t procrastinate. Unfortunately, the deadline has already passed for the primary election, but you can still register in time for the general election in November! Keep in mind that your application will be traveling through snail mail; you can’t submit apps through Snapchat just yet.

Within 30 days of submitting your application, you will receive a voter registration certificate. You are officially registered to make your beautiful voice heard!

Am I eligible to vote?

You can register to vote if you are…

  • A citizen of the United States.
  • A resident of the county you submit your registration in. In other words, don’t submit your app to the Travis County Voter Registrar office if you live in Collin County.
  • At least 17 years and 10 months old today and will be 18 years old by election day.
  • NOT a convicted felon currently incarcerated, on parole, or probation.
  • NOT considered mentally incompetent by the court.

Am I already registered to vote?

Do you know the quadratic formula by heart but still have trouble remembering if you already registered to vote? Or maybe you’re concerned your registration isn’t valid anymore?

Head to My Voter Page and check your voter registration status using one of the following:

  • Your Texas driver’s license (TDL) number
  • Your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID) found on your voter registration certificate
  • Your name

As a rule of thumb, your voter registration should remain valid as long as you don’t move or change your name.

What if I just moved?

If you’ve been making moves since the last time you voted, you’ll need to make some edits before you can vote in the upcoming election.

If you moved from one place to another in the same county, you need to notify your County Voter Registrar office. The easiest way is to update your address at the Voter Name and Address Change website. You will receive a new voter registration certificate with your new address and precinct within 30 days. You can also…

  • Change your address on the back of your voter registration certificate and mail it to your County Voter Registrar office.
  • Mail a new voter registration application to your County Voter Registrar office, but make sure to check the “Change” box.
  • Change your voter registration information with your local DPS whenever you update your drivers license.

If you moved to a different county, you need to completely re-register by mailing a voter registration application to your County Voter Registrar office. #Throwback to the first time you registered to vote.

What if I changed my name?

Whatever the reason, if you legally changed your name since the last time you voted, but still live at the same address, you’ll need to tweak your voter registration.

The easiest way is to change your name at the Voter Name and Address Change website. You can also…

  • Change your name on the back of your voter registration certificate and mail it to your County Voter Registrar office.
  • Mail a new voter registration application to your County Voter Registrar office, but make sure to check the “Change” box.
  • Change your voter registration information with your local DPS whenever you update your drivers license.

What if I am in the military or overseas?

If you are in the military, thank you for your service! If you are overseas for another reason, we miss you!

Fill out and submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at least 11 days before the election. You will then receive a ballot in the mail for you to cast your vote by election day. Go here for more information.

What do I do on election day?

1. Find a polling location in your precinct.

Your precinct number is next to your birth year on your voter registration certificate. Visit My Voter Page two days before election day for polling location options.

2. Arrive at your polling location.

Even better if you roll up with your civically engaged squad! The more the merrier. Voting hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm at all polling locations statewide.

3. Show the clerk your ID.

Present one of these seven acceptable forms of photo ID:

The ID must be current or expired for no more than four years. You do not need to bring your voter registration certificate if you can provide one of these.

If you don’t have any of those seven forms of ID, you can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration explaining why you can’t obtain a photo ID along with one of the following documents:

  • Government document with your name and address, such as your voter registration certificate
  • Domestic birth certificate
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck

4. Head to the voting booth and cast your vote.

If you are participating in the primary election (March 6th), you will be helping choose a party’s nominee from a list of potential candidates.

If you are participating in the general election (November 6th), you are voting for the party nominee that you want to take office.

5. Take a picture with your “I Voted” sticker!

It is your civic duty to instill FOMO in your friends who have not voted yet. Make sure you do it outside the polling location though since you’re not allowed to use your phone inside.

How do I decide who to vote for?

Here comes the fun part. Make sure you do your research beforehand so you make the most out of your vote!

  1. Go to Who Represents Me and enter your address to find which voting districts you fall under. Beware: the districts are not numbered the same way. Somebody who votes for Texas US Representatives in District 21 may simultaneously vote for Texas State Senators in District 14.
  2. Pick your favorite voter guide to read up on candidates. For example, the League of Women Voters has a great non-partisan guide that you can read here. You can also look at guides or endorsements from other sources you trust.
  3. The voter guide may have info on candidates outside of your voting district. If you know you are in voting district X, skip over to that portion of the voting guide and learn about the candidates you can actually vote for!

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