Monday, October 24, 2016

Registered Voters CAN Vote In Texas Without Photo ID

There has been a lot of confusion about whether a photo ID is required to vote in the state of Texas. Let me try to explain the situation.

Previously, no one could vote in Texas without presenting a valid photo ID. But a federal judge ruled that was unconstitutional, since it discriminated against minorities, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that judges decision. This did not mean the Voter ID law was completely invalid, and that no voter needed to show an ID. But it did mean that those who do not have, or could not get a photo ID, can still vote.

If you have a photo ID, then you will be required to show it when you go to vote. Excuses like "I left it at home" will not work. You will either have to go home and get it, or cast a provisional ballot (which will only be counted if you show up at the office of the county elections administrator within a few days after the election).

That has not changed. The following forms of photo ID are acceptable (and must not have expired more than four years ago):

1. Texas Drivers License (issued by DPS)
2. Texas Identification Card (issued by DPS)
3. Texas Election Identification Certificate (issued by DPS)
4. Texas Handgun License (issued by DPS)
5. U.S. Military Identification Card (with photo)
6. U.S. Citizenship Certificate (with a photo)
7. United States Passport

The change comes when a person tell the election worker that he/she does not have a photo ID. In the past, this would have meant the person could not vote. That is NOT true any longer.

A person who does not have a photo ID can vote if they are on the official voter registration rolls, and present some kind of ID showing they are the person listed on the registration rolls. That ID can be one of the following:

* Valid Voter Registration Certificate
* Certified Birth Certificate
* Copy or original of current utility bill
* Copy or original of bank statement
* Copy or original government check
* Copy or original paycheck (not pay stub)
* Copy or original of other government document with voter's name and address

If the voter is on the registration rolls and presents one of these alternate forms of ID, they will then be asked to fill out a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration". This is a simple form (pictured above) that says the voter could not reasonably get a photo ID. On the form, the voters will be asked to check a box detailing why they could not get a photo ID. Those reasons are:

* Lack of transportation
* Disability or illness
* Lack of birth certificate or other documents that are necessary to get photo ID
* Work schedule
* Family responsibilities
* Lost or stolen photo ID
* Photo ID applied for but not received
* Other ________________

Once the voter has filled out and signed this form, he or she CAN VOTE A REGULAR BALLOT!

Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot vote without a photo ID if you are registered. If you do not have a photo ID, you can still vote by completing a simple form. Please vote! It is both your right and your duty.

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