Elections: Required Identification for Voting in Person
Tarrant County Elections
Tarrant County Elections
 
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Tarrant County Elections

Required Identification for Voting in Person

  {Photo ID FAQs}     

In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) creating a new requirement for voters to show photo identification when voting in person. While pending review within the judicial system, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively ended all pending litigation. As a result, effective immediately, voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas Elections.

 
Following is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the personís photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate or naturalization certificate containing the personís photograph
  • United States passport

The identification provided for voting must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.  Some types of acceptable identification have no expiration date.

Procedures for Voting

When a voter arrives at the polling place, the voter will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID (see list above).  If the voter presents an acceptable form of identification, the election worker will compare it to list of registered voters.  If the name on the ID matches the name on the list of registered voters or is ďsubstantially similarĒ, and the voter is otherwise qualified to vote, the voter will be provided a regular ballot.

While you must have an acceptable form of photo ID to vote in person, it is okay if the name on your ID and voter registration are not exactly the same.  Poll workers are trained to account for names that are substantially similar but not an exact match due to a number of circumstances including the use of nicknames, initials, suffixes, and changes of name due to marriage or divorce.

If a voter does not have proper identification, the voter will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at the polling place. The voter will then have six (6) days following Election Day to present proper identification in-person at the Elections Department, or the voterís ballot will be rejected.

Exemption/Exceptions

      Permanent Exemption for voters with a disability:  Voters with a disability may apply with the Elections Department for a permanent exemption. The application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing he or she has been determined to have a disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. In addition, the applicant must state that he or she has no valid form of photo identification. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption. Please contact the Elections Department at 817-831-8683 for more details.

         Form for Requesting Disability Exemption

      

      Temporary Exception for Religious Objection or Natural Disaster:  Voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed and voters who do not have any valid form of photo identification as a result of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor, may cast a provisional ballot at the polling place, and then appear at the Elections Department within six (6) calendar days after election day, and sign an affidavit swearing to the religious objection or natural disaster, in order for the provisional ballot to be counted.  These exceptions are temporary and good for one election only.  Please contact the Elections Department at 817-831-8683 for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does the new photo identification law go into effect?

The new photo identification requirement is effective immediately.

2. What kind of identification will be required to qualify to vote in person under the new program?

A voter will be required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location before the voter will be permitted to cast a vote.

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
     
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the personís photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate or naturalization certificate containing the personís photograph.
  • United States passport

3. My ID is expired. Will it still work?

The identification provided for voting must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.  Some types of acceptable identification have no expiration date.

 

4. But what if a voter does not have any of these forms of photo ID? Are there any exceptions?

If a voter does not have a permanent disability exemption (addressed below) indicated on his or her voter registration certificate AND the voter does not have any of the photo identifications indicated above at the time of voting, the voter may cast a provisional ballot at the polls. However, in order to have the provisional ballot counted, the voter will be required to personally visit the Elections Department within six (6) calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the above forms of photo ID OR submit one of the temporary affidavits addressed below (e.g., religious objection or natural disaster).

A permanent exemption is available for voters with documented disabilities. Voters with a disability may apply with the Elections Department for a permanent exemption. The application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing the applicantís disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. In addition, the applicant must state that he or she has no valid form of photo identification. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption.

Form for Requesting Disability Exemption

Affidavits for temporary exceptions are available for voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed and for voters who do not have any photo identification as a result of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor within 45 days of the day the ballot was cast.  These exceptions are temporary and good for one election only.

5. If I have a government-issued ID that contains my photo and it is not on the list above, may I use it?

If you do not have one of the forms of photo IDs listed above and your voter registration certificate does not have a disability exemption noted, you will only be eligible to cast a provisional ballot.

6. My name on my approved photo ID does not exactly match my name on my voter registration card. Can I still vote?

Election officials will review the ID and if a name is ďsubstantially similarĒ to the name on their list of registered voters, you will be able to vote.

While you must have an acceptable form of photo ID to vote in person, it is okay if the name on your ID and voter registration are not exactly the same. Poll workers are trained to account for names that are substantially similar but not an exact match due to a number of circumstances including the use of nicknames, initials, suffixes, and changes of name due to marriage or divorce.

7. What does ďsubstantially similarĒ mean?

A voterís name is considered substantially similar if one or more of the following circumstances applies:

  • The name on the ID is slightly different from one or more of the name fields on the official list of registered voters.
  • The name on the voterís ID or on list of registered voters is a customary variation of the voterís formal name. For example, Bill for William, or Beto for Alberto.
  • The voterís name contains an initial, middle name, or former name that is either not on the official list of registered voters or on the voterís ID.
  • A first name, middle name, former name or initial of the voterís name occupies a different field on the presented ID document than it does on the list of registered voters.

In considering whether a name is substantially similar, election officials will also look at whether information on the presented ID matches elements of the voterís information on the official list of registered voters such as the voterís residence address or date of birth.

8. Does the new photo ID requirement apply to voting by mail?

The new requirement does not change the process for voting by mail.

9. Does the address on my photo identification have to match my address on the official list of registered voters at the time of voting?

The new requirement makes no determination on voter address matching criteria; therefore, there is no address matching requirement.

10. When is the DPS Election Identification Certificate going to be available?

The Election Identification Certificate is now available. Information regarding how to obtain an election identification certificate can be found at www.dps.texas.gov. You may also contact DPS by telephone at (512) 424-2600 for more information.

  • Election Identification Certificate Locations in Tarrant County
  • 11. Is the Election Identification Certificate the same as a Voter Registration Certificate?

    No.  The Elections Identification Certificate is issued by the Department of Public Safety only in cases where a person has no other acceptable forms of photo identification for voting.  You must be a registered voter or apply to register at the time of obtaining the Election Identification Certificate.  The Election Identification Certificate does not prove that a person is registered to vote.

    12. What happens if I refuse to show proof of identity?

    Voters who refuse to show proof of identity will be allowed to vote by provisional ballot. However, please be advised that a refusal to show ID is not a valid ground for casting a provisional ballot, and it is likely that the voterís ballot will be rejected by the ballot board.

    More Information

    Still have questions?  Please phone our office at 817-831-8683.

     

    Additional Resources



    Content Last Modified on 10/25/2013 5:19:33 PM





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