Learn everything you need to know to vote
Pick up a voter registration application at your library, any government office, or download one from this site. Mail your completed application to the Voter Registrar in your county. Upon acceptance, your voter registration will be effective 30 days from registration.
You’ll be mailed a voter registration certificate or card with your name, address, and the number of the precinct in which you’ll vote. (A precinct is a geographic area in your county.) Check your local newspaper on the Saturday before the election for the address of the polling place for your precinct and, on election day, arrive there between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to cast your ballot. Unless you are a voter with a permanent exemption on your voter registration certificate, show your approved form of photo identification to the election official. If you do not possess one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo identification and cannot obtain one due to a reasonable impediment, show a supporting form of identification to the election official and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. Depending on the type of voting machine they use, they’ll provide you with a paper ballot or, for an electronic voting machine, a number or ballot activator card that enables you to vote on the machine. Easy, right?
In the past decade, Texas has led the nation with its efforts to increase ballot accessibility for all voters, including elderly voters, voters with disabilities, and voters who do not read or speak English or Spanish. Texas has created laws requiring all polling places to be accessible to persons who are elderly or physically disabled. And Texas was the first state to require that all electronic voting systems purchased after September 1, 1999, provide voters who have disabilities a practical way to cast a secret ballot.
If you’re a student who spends several weeks or months a year in different locations but wants to vote in Texas, you’ll need to decide which place in Texas is the place you call “home,” i.e., where you intend to return after you’ve been away. If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may use that address as your registration address. If you would like to register to vote at your college address, you may do so, but you can’t be registered in both places.
If you consider yourself a permanent resident of another state, you’ll need to consult with officials there for registration and ballot-by-mail procedures.
If you’re attending a college or university away from home, you can vote early by mail if you claimed as your primary residence the address where you live while not attending school – in other words, where a parent or guardian lives.
To request that an early voting ballot be sent to the address where you are physically planning to be at election time (e.g.,at school), you must fill out an
early voting ballot request application. (PDF)
For more information, please visit our
Helpful Hints on Voting Early by Mail
High school students who are 16 years of age or older now have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process by serving as elections clerks at the polling place during Early Voting or on Election Day. A student who is at least 16 years of age and who is enrolled in a public or private high school or home school and has the consent of the principal (or parent/legal guardian in charge of education in home school) may serve as an election clerk. The elections officials must receive written authorization from the student’s parent or guardian for the student to serve in the election for which he or she is appointed.
This program is designed to provide students with a greater awareness of the electoral process and the rights and responsibilities of voters. The students will assist their local election officials by filling positions at polling places during the Early Voting period or on Election Day and working under the direction of the polling place presiding judge.
Some of the benefits of serving as an election clerk are:
Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:
To qualify as a student election clerk, the student must:
Remember, when you turn 18 you will have reached the age to serve as a regular election clerk or judge!
For more information about elections, go to the Secretary of State’s website or contact your local elections officials.
A: Student election clerks are high school students who are 16 years of age or older who participate in the electoral process by serving as election clerks at the polling place during Early Voting and/or on Election Day. The purpose is two-fold: 1) to introduce students to the electoral process, including the rights and responsibilities of voters, and to inspire the students with an interest in their government, and 2) to provide their local election officials with additional resources, by filling positions at polling places working under the direction of the polling place presiding judge election judge.
A: To qualify as a student election clerk, the student must:
A: Some of the benefits of serving as an election clerk are:
A: Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:
A: To serve as a student election clerk, you must:
A: A school district may excuse a student for the purpose of serving as an Early Voting and/or Election Day clerk for a maximum of two days in a school year.
A: A high school or home schooled student who is 18 years of age but is not yet registered to vote is still eligible to serve as a student election clerk. However, we encourage all individuals who are eligible to register to vote to do so, at which point they would be eligible to serve as a regular election day judge or clerk rather than as a student election clerk.
A:The Secretary of State’s office has a Student Election Worker Application and Permission Slip (PDF) posted on its website that political subdivisions can use for students to apply to be election clerks. The students can fill out the application, get the required signatures, and send the form to the election officials who serve the election in which the student wishes to serve. The elections official will provide each judge with a list of all eligible student election workers. Here is a link to contact information for county election officials.
A: The student will provide all required information directly to the election officials. The Student Election Worker Application and Permission Slip (PDF) for students to complete and send to their local elections officials includes a consent section for both parent/guardian and the appropriate school official. The student will be responsible for obtaining the principal’s consent to serve as an election clerk. The student (not the school) provides the information directly to the election officials. The school will not need to contact the election officials. In addition, the student must obtain parental or legal guardian consent on the same application before the student can serve as an election clerk.
A: Serving as an election clerk is now included in the Texas Education Code’s definition of “excused absence.” Student election clerks are entitled to compensation in the same manner as other election clerks. The election official should give each student worker documentation in the form of a time sheet, pay stub, or other letter or form showing that the student served as an election worker and the hours worked. Ultimately, however, it is up to the student to ensure that the school is given the proper documentation in order to have an excused absence.
A: Up to four student election clerks may work at a single Early Voting site at a time, and up to two student clerks may work at an Election Day polling place at a time; except that not more than four student election clerks may serve at any countywide polling place.
A: Students can work outside of their home precinct because election clerks are not limited to working only in their own precincts. The positions in each precinct should be filled in the order in which the students apply, assuming they meet all the requirements. Any extra student applicants for a given precinct may work in another precinct that does not already have its authorized number of student election clerk positions filled.
A: The student clerk may simply turn down the assignment (just like any other voluntary election clerk offered an assignment that presents a conflict).
A: Yes. When election workers are communicating with a voter who cannot communicate in English, a student election worker may communicate with the voter in a language the voter and the clerk understands.
A: Under the Texas Labor Code, the employment hours of persons 16 or older are not restricted by state law. Persons 16 or 17 years of age have no restrictions on the number of hours or times of day they may work.
A: There are no state law curfews in Texas. However, some municipalities and perhaps counties have curfews by local ordinance; therefore, the answers would vary depending on the details of any applicable local ordinance. It is common for most local curfew ordinances to give exceptions for school or work-related activities, for which this would likely qualify. Also, the student will not be in violation of the compulsory attendance law for schools because, again, the legislation provides for an excused absence when serving as an election clerk.
© 2012 Office of the Texas Secretary of State. All Rights Reserved.