Whether you are shocked or disappointed at the outcome of the recent Presidential Election, you need to know that voting in EVERY election matters.
Register to Vote!
If you are not already registered to vote, get registered.
- For Travis County, start here with some Voter Registration Basics.
- For Williamson County, start here to get registered.
- For all other Texas Counties, go here to find out how and where to register.
Please remember that in Texas, we do NOT have an online registration system. Both of the links above will give you information and allow you to download a registration form, but you will either have to mail the completed form or hand delivered it to your county’s voter registration office. If you have not received your Voter Registration Certificate (small 4×6 inch postcard) in the mail within 30 days, be sure to follow up with a phone call to the Registrar of Voters office to verify that they received your registration form.
- Make sure the name on your voter registration card is an exact match to the name used on your photo ID. You want them to be an exact match when you go vote! Example: Jane Bellatrix Smith. If your photo ID shows your full name, don’t just put Jane B. Smith or Jane Smith on your registration form. Exact matches are important. (They can be cleared up at the polling place, if necessary, but yeah, this means more paperwork.)
- Registering to vote is not a “one and done” scenario. Stay active and keep your information current in the system by voting in every election!Your Voter Registration Certificate is good for 2 years (see the Valid from/thru dates). About a month before your old card expires, you will receive a new card in the mail.If you move, be sure to add “Update Address with the Registrar of Voters” to your moving checklist. Same procedure as above: get the form online or go in person to update your address.
Keeping your address up-to-date is even more important now that Austin has a 10-1 single-member district City Council. If you have moved from one district to another and didn’t update your address with the Registrar’s Office, you will have to vote the ballot in the district of your old address until you change your address officially. In addition, if you have both moved AND not voted in a recent election, you will probably be flagged in the system when you go to the polls.
If the system says that there is an “Update Required,” you will have to complete a Statement of Residence before being allowed to vote. It’s just another avoidable step you’ll have to take at the polling place unless you keep your information updated.
When You Go Vote
So, your Voter Registration Certificate has been secured. Yay! Take it with you when you go to the polling place, and remember to bring your photo ID! Yes, there has been a lot of confusion regarding this issue, but I will clarify it for you.
You are required to show a valid form of photo identification in the State of Texas in order to vote. If and only if you do not possess a valid ID and you have a reasonable impediment to getting a valid ID can you fill out a form and be allowed to vote a regular ballot at the polling place. A reasonable impediment is something like your wallet being stolen with your ID in it, for example, and you have not been able to get your ID replaced yet.
It is NOT considered a reasonable impediment if you just left your ID at home. When you get to the polling place, you will either need to retrieve your ID before you can vote or you must vote a Provisional Ballot and “cure” it within a defined period by taking your valid photo ID to your county’s Registrar of Voters office and personally showing them your photo ID. Trust me, just bring your ID with you if you have one.
Here is a link to the acceptable forms of photo ID for Texas.
One More Thing
The last day to register to vote for the May 2017 election is April 6, 2017. Don’t wait. Verify that you are registered or get registered before the deadline!
In later posts (look for posts by Aubrac), I will to give you information about America’s voting process and what you can do directly to affect change in your own community.