This column first appeared in the San Antonio Express News on October 4, 2016.
Dear Mr. Premack: I have always been eager to vote, but this year at age 82 I let my driver’s license expire and moved from Austin to San Antonio to live with my daughter. I want to be sure I am all set to vote with ID and Registration. What should I do, and how soon? – W.T.
Registration is required in order to vote in the upcoming November election. People can register in person or by mail. The Texas Secretary of State says the deadline to register is October 11. If registering by mail, the application must be postmarked on or before October 11. Don’t wait for the deadline; give yourself and the county as much time as possible to be sure your registration is proper. An application can be obtained online, but there is no way to actually register online. Registration must be done in person or by mail.
If a voter has moved or changed their name, their registration must be updated. According to the Secretary of State: If you moved within the same county where you are currently registered, you must file the new address information in writing with your voter registrar (for Bexar county, visit http://www.bexar.org/1706/Registration-Changes).
If you moved to a different county you must re-register in your new county of residence. So, W.T., you must re-register in your new county by October 11 to be eligible to vote.
Anyone who wants to confirm they are properly registered may verify online at https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do. Those who are properly registered receive a registration card in the mail. The Secretary of State highly recommends presenting the registration card at the polling place. If you do not present your registration card but your name is on the list of eligible voters, you can still vote with proper ID. If you have no registration card and are not on the list of eligible voters, you may be denied the vote.
Registered voters also need to present one of the seven forms of photo ID, or present some other acceptable ID along with a Reasonable Impediment Declaration (which they will provide at the polling place). See my August 29 column for more information on Voter ID (http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/life_columnists/paul_premack/article/Court-Order-relaxes-Voter-ID-requirements-9191400.php). W.T.: if your driver’s license has been expired less than four years you should be able to use it as ID to vote.
Vote Early or by Mail
Once properly registered, consider Early Voting (open from October 24 – November 4, a tight squeeze if you are not yet registered). Also, consider Voting by Mail if you are age 65 or older on election day, are disabled, or will be out of the county on election day. You must apply for a mail ballot. In Bexar County, you can request an application by phoning the Elections Office at 210-335-0362 or by mailing them a request. Applications to vote by mail must be received by the county by October 28 (so if you are not yet registered, you may be too late to apply this year).
The League of Women Voters is holding a Candidate Forum on October 5 at 6 pm. Candidates for Civil and Criminal Judgeships and for Sheriff will attend. The Forum is free, and will be at the UTSA Downtown Campus.