Monday, September 29, 2008

Registering to Vote and Early Voting for the Nov. 4th Election

(For a comprehensive list of linked election/voting Web sites, see Fondren's Election/Voting Resources.)

Voter Registration

If you mail a voter register card to vote in the November 4th election, it must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 6 (30 days before the election). For other ways of registering to vote, see the Harris County Tax Office voter registration page. For those wanting the quickest service, it is possible to register in person at any of the 16 area Tax Offices or any of the following agencies:
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
Texas Department of State Health Services
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Each public library
Each marriage license office of the county clerk.

The Harris County Tax Office also maintains a Voter Registration Frequently Asked Questions page.

Voter Registration Certificates usually arrive within 30 days. If your certificate has not arrived by November 4 or if you are unsure if you have registered, in Harris County you can see your Voter Registration Record online. It includes a list of your elected district representatives (U.S., Texas, and local) and other voting district information (school district, community college, etc.). Just be careful to follow the directions for accessing information either by name, by address, or by voter registration certificate number.

If you cannot find your voter registration certificate, the Texas Secretary of State lists the following forms of acceptable identification:

  • a driver's license or personal identification card issued to you by the Department of Public Safety or a similar document issued to you by an agency of another state, regardless of whether the license or card has expired;
  • a form of identification containing your photograph that establishes your identity;
  • a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • United States citizenship papers issued to you;
  • a United States passport issued to you;
  • official mail addressed to you, by name, from a governmental entity;
  • a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Early Voting/Voting by Mail

For a detailed description of all early voting provisions, see the Texas Secretary of State's Early Voting in Texas page. Early voting begins Oct. 20 and ends Oct. 31. Harris Votes provides a list of early voting locations for Harris County.

Registered voters may also apply for a ballot by mail starting Sept. 5. Requests must be received (not just postmarked) by Oct. 28. The Texas Secretary of State lists the following eligibility requirements for voting by mail:

  • be 65 years or older;
  • be disabled;
  • be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
  • be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.