Five things Texans need to know about voting in 2018

Registering to vote in Texas might be overwhelming, so we broke it down for you

In this short video, find out who can register to vote, where to register, which documents are needed and when you must register by to vote in the next election.
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In this short video, find out who can register to vote, where to register, which documents are needed and when you must register by to vote in the next election.

Want to vote in Texas this year, but you’re not sure what to do?

Here’s some information that might help you prepare to weigh in on the March 6 primary election.

“If people want to get involved in the primary, they need to start acting now,” Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said. “Anyone who isn’t registered should get registered quickly.

“We don’t want to turn away anyone at the polls because they forgot to register.”

Here’s some information that might help anyone who has voting questions.

How to register? In Texas, voters don’t register with an affiliation to a political party. They just register to vote. Anyone who wants to vote in the primary election must register to vote by Feb. 5. Forms to register or update voter names or addresses can be found at libraries or post offices or online at access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.html. Not sure if you are registered to vote? You can check that out online too, at teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

Which primary? Texans may vote in either primary election they’d like, even if it’s different from the one they voted in the last time they headed to the polls. And just FYI, anyone who votes in the Republican primary may vote in the GOP primary runoff. Anyone who votes in the Democratic primary may vote in that party’s primary runoff. But if you don’t vote in the March 6 primary, you may vote in either party’s runoff, which will be May 22.

When can you vote? If you are going to be out of town during early voting and on Election Day — or if you are at least 65 or disabled — you may ask for a mail-in ballot through Feb. 23. Applications for mail-in ballots may be downloaded from the Texas Secretary of State’s website and returned to county election officials by fax, mail or email. Otherwise, head to the polls early between Feb. 20-March 2. Or go on Election Day.

Who can vote? A Texas voter must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 by Election Day, mentally sound and not a convicted felon unless the sentence has been completed, including parole or probation. For new residents in the state, there’s no requirement stipulating how long someone must live here before registering to vote.

What do you need to take to the polls? Bring your voter registration card and a photo ID. The seven state-approved photo IDs: Texas driver’s license, Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, U.S. military ID card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo, and U.S. passport. Anyone who doesn’t have one of those IDs, and can’t get one before voting, may show another form of identification and fill out a “reasonable impediment declaration.”

Election officials say they hope as many people as possible vote.

“The voice of the people is heard through their vote,” Tarrant County Elections Administrator Nathan G. Neblett said.

Have more election questions? Local voters may call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683. Voters statewide may call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-252-VOTE.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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