Voters without photo ID may qualify for an exemption or free ID
Published 11:19 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015
By Carlos H. Cascos
AUSTIN – As early voting continues for the November 3 Election, Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos again reminds voters about photo ID options for voting in person.
“Voting is all about choice, and Texans have seven forms of photo ID to choose from when voting at the polls,” said Secretary Cascos. “Additionally, some Texans have additional options if they qualify to vote by mail or for a photo ID exemption.”
Many Texans already have an approved photo ID. Those types of photo IDs include a Texas driver license, Texas identification card, Texas concealed handgun license, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, or a citizenship certificate. With the exception of a citizenship certificate, all IDs must be current or expired no more than 60 days at the time the ID is present by the voter.
If qualified, Voters who do not have one of the photo IDs listed above may still be able to vote by mail, through an exemption, or by getting a free Election Identification Certificate.
In almost all instances, voting by mail does not require a photo ID. Texans 65 and older and people with disabilities are qualified to vote by mail, but today is the last day to request a ballot by mail for the November 3 Election.
Citizens with certain disabilities may also seek a permanent photo ID exemption by applying to the county registrar. In order to obtain a permanent photo ID exemption based on disability, the applicant must provide documentation of (1) any disability from the U.S. Social Security Administration or (2) at least a 50 percent disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Other exemptions from the photo ID requirement exist for voters with 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.
Any citizen who does not have an approved ID can apply for a free Election Identification Certificate from a Department of Public Safety driver license office during regular hours. Select offices will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, and mobile distribution stations are deployed throughout the state. Finally, alternate locations are available in some counties. When applying for an Election Identification Certificate, voters will need to prove citizenship and identity.
If a citizen needs a certified copy of a Texas birth certificate in order to obtain an Election Identification Certificate, that birth certificate can be obtained for free. More information about obtaining a free birth certificate for purposes of obtaining a free Election Identification Certificate is available from the Department of State Health Services.
Carlos H. Cascos is Texas Secretary of State