Politics & Government

Texans: Need to register to vote? The deadline looms, and you can’t do it online

There’s still time.

If you want to vote in the Nov. 5 election and haven’t yet registered, you have until Oct. 7.

Voter registration applications are available online, at the Tarrant County Elections Administration and at subcourthouses, city halls, libraries and post offices. They must be postmarked or dropped off at the election office by end of business Oct. 7. You cannot register online.

Officials are setting up stations at county buildings Tuesday and Wednesday in recognition of National Voter Registration Day.

Heider Garcia, Tarrant County’s election administrator, said officials are trying to help people register or update their registration now so they don’t show up at the polls on Election Day and find out they are unable to vote.

In this year’s election, Texans will be asked to consider 10 constitutional amendments ranging from letting retired police dogs live with their handlers to formally banning the creation of a state income tax in Texas, where there already is no state income tax.

There is also a mayoral race in Bedford, bond elections in Aledo, Arlington, Keller and Everman, and a school trustee race in Fort Worth.

Early voting runs from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1.

The November election will be the first time Tarrrant County voters use the new voting equipment that was purchased in August.

The machines have a touchscreen where voters can review the ballot and make their choices. The machine will print a list of the choices made. After voters review that sheet, they’ll put it in one of the scanners to formally cast their vote.

The election will also be the first time Tarrant County has operated countywide vote centers, which let voters cast their ballots at any polling place in the county on Election Day.

Voter registration

To register to vote in Texas, a person must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 by Election Day, can’t be a convicted felon (unless the sentence has been completed, including parole or probation) and can’t be declared mentally incapacitated by a court.

The Voter Participation Center is mailing millions of voter registration applications to potential voters in 15 states. More than 61,000 registration applications are being sent to Texas, where the number of single women, minorities, millennials and Gen Zers who are registered to vote is low.

“Our democracy should reflect the diverse people who live in our nation,” said Page Gardner, founder and president of the Voter Participation Center.

On Tuesday, Tarrant election officials will hold voter registration events from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Southwest Subcourthouse, Northeast Courthouse, Tarrant County Elections Administration Office, Subcourthouse in Arlington, Northwest Subcourthouse and Tarrant County Administration Building. They’ll be at the Fort Worth Public Library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than a hundred students were registered to vote at South Hills High School at a campus event that included Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Sergio De Leon and school board Trustee Anael Luebanos. The elected officials spoke to students as part of National Voter Registration Day.

On Wednesday, they will hold events from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Charles F. Griffin building, Southlake Town Hall, Tarrant County Administration Office, Subcourthouse at Mansfield and Tarrant County Administration Building.

Are you registered?

To find out if you are registered to vote, visit VoteTexas.gov. You also may call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683. Sample ballots are posted on the Tarrant County elections website.

To ask for a ballot by mail, call the Tarrant County Elections office at 817-831-8683. The last day a request for a ballot by mail can be received is Oct. 25.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Reporter Diane Smith contributed to this report.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.