The dos and don’ts of early voting in Texas

State & Regional

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Earlyssa Cooper is preparing to cast her ballot in the Lone Star State for the first time.

Cooper, a college student, said she’s both excited and nervous, as she studies the candidates and the issues.

“I want to make sure that I do enough research this weekend to give all of the candidates a fair chance,” Cooper said.

The non-partisan League of Women Voters is educating registered voters across the state.

“We’ve worked hard to get people registered, [and] now they are, and it’s like ‘What do we do next?’ And we are here to help them with that too,” Cinde Weatherby, the organization’s Austin-area vice president of voters service, said.

There are seven acceptable forms of identification registered voters can bring to the polls: a Texas driver’s license, Texas election identification certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas handgun license, United States military ID card with a photo, United States citizenship certificate with a photo or a United States passport. These documents may be expired up to four years. For voters age 70 or older, there is no limit on the expiration of identification.

There are also seven acceptable substitutes if you do not have a valid photo ID: a valid voter registration certificate, certified birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or government document with your name and address on it. You’ll need to sign a declaration form if you use any of these seven alternates.

“I have also researched what kind of ID I can take to the polls, and so I have it ready to go as well,” first time Texas voter Holly Davis said.

“I have no idea of the capacity of the different precincts and polling sites, and so we have no sense of how much time we need to a lot for this process,” she mentioned.

Weatherby said she heard of people planning to camp out at polling places Sunday night ahead of polls opening Monday.

“I would recommend they go vote early because there are going to be a lot of people voting, and that’s a really good thing,” Weatherby explained.

Weatherby urged voters to double-check their ballot after entering the information, especially voters who plan to vote “straight ticket.”

“If you are going down the ballot last and you don’t really know who you should choose for something, that’s fine skip that. It’s better than voting for somebody that just has a nice name and you don’t know anything about,” she said.

It is also against the rules to use your phone in the voting booth.

“Taking pictures in the polling place is prohibited and using your phone for information is prohibited,” Weatherby stated. “So keep your phone in your pocket, but you can go into the voting place with your voters’ guide and you can print out that voters guide information and take that with you.”

Voter guides may be found at Vote411.org. The Texas Secretary of State’s website has additional voter information.

Early voting runs from Monday, Oct. 22 through Friday, Nov. 2. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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