AUSTIN — With the November 4 General Election approaching, now is a good time to encourage Texans to prepare for photo identification (ID) requirements at the polls. That’s why we are partnering as the Texas Secretary of State and Chair of the Texas Public Safety Commission to tell Texans about the many options they have when it comes to photo ID and elections.
November 4 will be the fourth statewide election with a photo ID requirement. That means Texans voting in person will need to show one of seven approved IDs when they go to the polls.
Most Texans already have an acceptable form of photo ID. If you have one of the following, then you are all set to vote: a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued driver license; DPS-issued personal ID card; DPS-issued concealed handgun license; U.S. passport; U.S. military ID with a photo; or a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo.
If you don’t already have one of these six forms of ID, you may qualify for an Election Identification Certificate (EIC) from DPS at no charge.
Voters casting their ballots by mail will not need to present a photo ID. Voters with disabilities and those who are 65 years and older automatically qualify to vote by mail, and many already take advantage of this convenient option.
If, however, you need an EIC for voting in person, you have multiple options to apply for one. EICs are available at the more than 220 DPS driver license offices across the state throughout the year. Starting October 11, about 50 of these offices will also open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to issue EICs only. These select Saturday hours will run through November 8, and a list of those locations is available at dps.texas.gov or by calling 512-424-2600.
Not only are EICs available at DPS driver license offices, but they will be available at mobile EIC stations traveling across the state. To find locations and dates for these stations, visit VoteTexas.gov, where notifications will be added as each mobile station site is finalized. Or call 1-800-252-VOTE for more information.
If you live in a county without a DPS driver license office, you may also have the option to get an EIC from an alternate approved EIC location. You can find a list of these alternate locations at dps.texas.gov or calling 512-424-2600.
Through DPS driver license offices, EIC mobile stations, and EIC alternative locations, EICs will be available in all 254 Texas counties.
When applying for an EIC, you will need to show proof of citizenship and identity. For most Texans this means an original or certified copy of your birth certificate and two supporting forms of documentation. The full list of options for supporting documentation is available on the DPS website. Some options include a voter registration card, Social Security card, school records and military records.
If you need a certified copy of your Texas birth certificate in order to obtain an EIC, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will provide one at no cost instead of the usual $22. You may also obtain a Texas birth certificate from a local registrar or county clerk for no more than $3 in order to obtain an EIC. This certified copy, however, can only be used for the purpose of obtaining an EIC.
You may need to show proof of identity to get your certified copy of your birth certificate. Proof of identity, according to DSHS, includes two documents with your name such as a utility bill, recent paycheck stub, employment or organizational ID, or a Social Security card. One of the documents must have your signature. For more information about birth certificates, contact the Department of State Health Services at 512-776-7368.
Just as you have choices at the polls, you have choices when it comes to photo ID. First, remember to register to vote by October 6 for the November 4 Election, and be sure to make a plan for which photo ID option you will use. If you qualify, you can choose to vote by mail, but if you plan to vote in person, don’t forget a photo ID.
Prepare for Election Day on November 4, and don’t forget to Vote Texas.
Nandita Berry is the 109th Texas Secretary of State and her duties include serving as the Chief Election Officer for the state.
Cynthia Leon is the chair of the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Public Safety.