AUSTIN, TX - "Texas voters face important choices for the future of Texas in the 2014 elections when for the first time in more than 20 years an incumbent governor and many other incumbent state officials are not seeking reelection" according Linda Krefting, League of Women Voters of Texas President. "The March 4 Democratic and Republican primary elections are a crucial first step determining the candidates to appear on the November general election ballot for each party."
All voters need to know how the newly implemented Texas photo ID requirement works so they can be prepared when they go to the polls. The ID must be current or have expired no more than 60 days when presented at the polls, and the only IDs that can be accepted are:
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued driver's license, personal ID card, concealed carry license, or election identification certificate, or US government issued passport, military ID, citizenship or naturalization certificate.
Other photo IDs, including out-of-state driver's licenses, employer IDs, and school IDs cannot be accepted at the polls. Photo ID is not required to vote by mail except for new voters who registered without providing a driver's license or social security number.
At the polls, election officials will use the photo ID to be sure the individual asking to vote is the person registered to vote.
If the names on the photo ID and list of registered voters match exactly, the voter should be accepted to vote a regular ballot. The addresses do not need to match.
If the names are not exactly the same, election officials will check other information--birth date, address, and photo. If there is enough detail to determine this is the person registered to vote, the person should be accepted to vote a regular ballot and initial a box when signing into vote.
If the photo ID isn't an acceptable ID, isn't current or doesn't match the voter registration, the voter should be offered a provisional ballot and will have six days after the election to present acceptable ID to the voter registrar so the ballot will be counted.
An exact match between the name on the photo ID and the list of registered voters is not required to be accepted to vote a regular ballot. If names don't match, additional information will be considered in accepting the voter.
Voters may want to know how their name will appear on the list of registered voters to see whether it compares to their photo ID. Voters can find out how their name will appear on the voter registration list at the polls by:
Checking the name as it appears on the right side of their voter registration certificate. Voter registration cards may contain somewhat different names on the left side and on the right side; the name on the right is the way the name will appear at the polls.
Voters who would like their voter registration and photo ID names to match can change the voter registration name to match the ID name in one of three ways:
Make the change in the space provided on the back of the voter registration certificate, sign the certificate, and return the corrected, signed certificate to the county voter registrar.
Make the change online from "Register to Vote/Need to Change Something" at http://VoteTexas.gov/ .
Complete a new voter registration application indicating it is a change. The application can be downloaded from "Register to Vote" at http://VoteTexas.gov/ . The application must be completed and mailed to the county voter registrar.
Changes should be made by February 3 to be in effect for the March 4 primary elections.
Those not already registered to vote have until February 3 to register in time for the March 4 primaries. Voter registration applications can be obtained from the county voter registrar, many government offices and libraries, or downloaded from "Register to Vote" at http://VoteTexas.gov/ .
The nonpartisan LWV-Texas Education Fund Voters Guide for the primary elections with candidate views on important issues in their own words plus helpful information on the new photo ID requirement and other aspects of voting will be available on http://lwvTexas.org/ and www.VOTE411.org by February 3. Print copies will be distributed by local Leagues and through many libraries.
The nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas has been "educating and agitating" for informed participation in government for more than 90 years and believes no form of participation is more important than voting. To have a voice in the 2014 elections, which will be particularly important to the future of Texas, voters need to be understand the new photo ID requirement.