AUSTIN – On Monday, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs announced a new statewide initiative, “Ready. Check. Vote.,” to educate Texas voters about what they need to bring to the polls when they cast their ballot.
The campaign will utilize social media, paid advertising, and a grassroots tour to communicate to Texans the seven approved forms of photo identification and what to do if they do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these seven forms.
In its 2019 session, the Texas Legislature appropriated funding to the Secretary of State’s office for this initiative.
The Ready. Check. Vote. grassroots tour visited San Antonio last week and will be in Brownsville and Hidalgo on February 29th and March 7th, respectively. Later this year, the tour will expand to additional cities across the Lone Star State.
“This initiative is aimed at ensuring Texas voters are informed, prepared, and ready to cast their ballot in the 2020 elections,” said Secretary Hughs. “The grassroots tour provides an opportunity for Texans to interact with the campaign, ask questions, and learn how to participate in the voting process.”
Texas voters who possess one of the seven approved forms of photo ID must present that ID at the polls. Voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID may execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form, available to them at each polling location, and provide a supporting form of identification.
In addition, some voters may qualify for an exemption to presenting an acceptable form of the photo identification or following the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure.
The seven forms of approved photo ID are:
- Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)**
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
- Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
- A United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
- A United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
- United States Passport (book or card)
**License is not required to be REAL ID-compliant
With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, which does not expire, the approved photo ID must be current or, for voters aged 18-69, have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
A voter 70 years of age or older may use a form of approved photo ID listed above that has expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.
If a voter does not possess one of the forms of approved photo identification listed above, and the voter cannot reasonably obtain such identification, the voter may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form, which will be available at each polling location, and present a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of identification:
- a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate
- a current utility bill
- a bank statement
- a government check
- a paycheck
- a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate
- a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
The address on an approved form of the photo identification or a supporting form of identification, if applicable, does not have to match the voter’s address on the list of registered voters.
If a voter meets these requirements and is otherwise eligible to vote, the voter will be able to cast a regular ballot in the election.
Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption to presenting an acceptable form of the photo identification or following the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure at the polls.
Voters with a religious objection to being photographed or voters who do not present an approved form of the photo identification or follow the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure at the polls because of certain natural disasters may apply for a temporary exemption to presenting an acceptable form of the photo identification or following the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure.
For more details, voters may contact their county voter registrar. Voters with questions about how to cast a ballot in the 2020 elections can call 1-800-252-VOTE. For more information on voting in Texas, visit www.votetexas.gov