The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

September 14, 2013

Getting carded: Voting in Texas now requires photo ID

By CRISTIN REECE
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Voting will be a bit different this year, according to Anderson County Elections Administrator Casey Brown, but the deadline to register to vote in upcoming elections is still the same.

Eligible Texans who are not registered to vote must register by Oct. 7, to be able to vote in the Nov. 5 election. Early voting runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1. Voters who do show up to the polls in November will be required to present photo identification to cast a ballot.

“We are working to make sure our voters understand the new ID requirements and have all the information they need to cast their ballots,” Brown stated in release emailed to the Herald-Press this week.

Thanks to a state law passed in 2011, Texas voters are now required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at local polling location before the voter will be permitted to cast a vote:

• a Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS);

• a Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS;

• a Texas personal identification card issued by DPS;

• a Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS;

• a U.S. military identification card containing the voter’s photograph;

• a U.S. citizenship certificate containing the voter’s photograph; or

• a U.S. passport;

Brown said with the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented at the polling place. Voters voting by mail are not required to include photo ID. Residents can obtain an election identification certificate by visiting the DPS website, www.dps.texas.gov.  

“We are also encouraging voters to update their voter registrations to reflect the names on their IDs,” Brown said. “Voters may use IDs that do not exactly match the name on their IDs if the names are substantially similar but will have to sign an affidavit stating they are the same person.

“By preparing now, voters can help make sure voting goes smoothly when it comes time for the election.”

To check the status of or update a voter registration, voters can visit the website, www.votetexas.gov or call 903 723-7855.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in August against the state of Texas, the Secretary of State and the director of the state’s Department of Public Safety over the voter identification law. The Department is also filing a motion to intervene as a party in a redistricting case in the state.