Politics & Government

April 25, 2014

Voters still have time to get photo IDs before Election Day

Election officials encourage voters to make sure they have proper photo ID before heading to the polls.

As the May 27 primary runoff election looms, election officials are reminding Texans who don’t have photo IDs that they still have time to get them.

Election Identification Certificates are available at all Texas driver license offices for voters who don’t already have proper ID, such as a driver license or passport. And several local offices will be open three Saturdays right before the election just to make sure.

But officials caution that the majority of Texas voters won’t need the card.

“Most residents already have an acceptable form of photo identification needed for voting and will not need or qualify for an EIC,” according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry has said the March 4 primary — when the Voter ID requirements were already in place — went smoothly.

“We did not hear any reports of significant issues related to photo ID,” she said. “Texans came to the polls prepared to show one of the seven forms of approved identification.”

Acceptable ID at the polls includes a driver license or personal identification card issued by the DPS; a Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS; a U.S. military ID card that includes a photograph; and a US passport or a U.S. citizenship certificate that includes a photograph.

Texans who don’t have any of those can go to a driver license office and fill out a form for the Texas Election Certificate.

“To avoid delays or complications, DPS urges potential applicants to make sure they have the necessary documentation before arriving at the office,” according to the statement.

Those documents would include a birth certificate to verify U.S. citizenship and identity, a valid voter registration card or proof of voter eligibility, as well as proof of age and residency.

Anyone approved for the identification will receive a receipt which can be used to vote until the permanent card arrives in the mail.

These EICs — which can only be used for voting — are free and good for six years. But there’s no expiration date for cards issued to Texans 70 or older.

Five driver license offices in Tarrant County will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10, 17 and 24 for the sole purpose of helping local residents to get EICs.

Anyone voting by mail does not have to provide a photo ID, election officials say.

The primary runoff election is May 27. Early voting runs from May 19-23.

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