Your North Texas Guide To Voting In The 2018 Primaries | KERA News

Your North Texas Guide To Voting In The 2018 Primaries

Jan 30, 2018

Texas will hold the nation’s first primary election on March 6.

The primary will determine the party nominees for the November midterm elections. Midterms are typically lower turnout elections, but they can have an outsized impact because they can change electoral maps, depending on the outcome of state and congressional races.

The governor’s mansion, a seat in the U.S. Senate and some of the most powerful statewide offices, such as Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, are on the ballot.

All of Texas' Congress members are up for election — same, too, for the entire Texas House of Representatives and half of the Texas Senate. A number of local, county and judicial posts will also be on the ballot.

This year is particularly unusual in Texas because there are eight vacancies in Congress to fill. It’s rare for this many seats to be open in Texas, and lots of people are jockeying to win them.

MoreHere are the candidates who've filed in 2018's top Texas races

Dates to know

  • Feb. 5: The last day to register to vote in the Texas primary election.
  • Feb. 20: The first day of early voting in Texas.
  • Feb. 23: The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot
  • March 2: The last day of early voting in Texas.
  • March 6: The primary election to select party nominees.

Voter ID changes

Early voting begins on Feb. 20 and runs through March 2. 

As part of the state’s voter ID law, those wishing to vote must provide a photo ID at the polls. In 2016, a federal court ruled the photo ID may be expired up to four years.

If you don’t have a photo ID, you can also present an alternative form of identification, but you’ll have to sign a form explaining why you couldn’t obtain a photo ID.

Here are the acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • 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 license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • U.S. military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. passport

If you don’t have one of the above forms of ID and can’t obtain one due to a reasonable impediment, the following forms of ID will also be accepted:

  • Valid voter registration certificate
  • Certified birth certificate (must be an original)
  • Copy of or original current utility bill
  • Copy of or original bank statement
  • Copy of or original government check
  • Copy of or original paycheck
  • Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)

After presenting a supporting form of ID, you’ll have to sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration explaining why you couldn’t obtain a photo ID.

Ballot information and where to vote

You can get specific ballot information for your address by filling out the Voter Lookup form on your county's website. You can also find your polling location for the early voting period and Election Day.

If you plan to vote by mail, the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Feb. 23. It has to be received by your county clerk's office by that date. According to the Secretary of State’s office, you can apply if:

  • You are 65 years or older.
  • You are disabled.
  • You will be out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting in person.
  • You are in jail, but otherwise eligible.

Voter registration deadline passed

The deadline to register to vote was Feb. 5. You can still check to see if you’re registered and prepare for the next election in the spring. Here are future election dates and deadlines

If you are not registered, you will have to register in-person at your county clerk’s office or by mail. Texas does not have online registration. You can print out the application or request it by mail

Note: If you’ve moved to another county or even within the same county since the last election, you will have to re-register.

Not sure if you’re eligible? According to the Secretary of State’s office, you can register if:

  • You are a United States citizen.
  • You are a resident of the county where you submit the application.
  • You are at least 18 years old on Election Day.
  • You are not a convicted felon. (You may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole.)
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.