Students

Students, here’s your class assignment: VOTE!

Lesson One: You have to register

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.

Lesson Two: Voting away from home.

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
section.

WORK AS A STUDENT CLERK

What are student election workers?

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.

What are the benefits of serving as an election clerk?

Some of the benefits of serving as an election clerk are:

  • Election workers are paid hourly for their service.
  • Students will gain practical experience by serving their community and state.
  • Experience as an election clerk is an impressive addition to a resumé or college application.
  • Students can take part in a rewarding activity while learning about the democratic process.
  • Students can earn community service hours for school.

What are the responsibilities of an election clerk?

Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:

  • Organizing the polling place before the polls open.
  • Ensuring that qualified voters are permitted to vote.
  • Checking in and processing voters.
  • Distributing ballots to registered voters.
  • Providing instructions and assistance to voters.
  • Answering voters’ questions.
  • Explaining the use of the voting equipment.
  • Maintaining order in the polling place on Election Day.
  • Obtaining results after the polls are closed and closing the polling place.

What are the required qualifications of an election clerk?

To qualify as a student election clerk, the student must:

  • Be at least 16 years old on Election Day;
  • Be enrolled in a public, private, or qualified home school;
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Have consent of his/her parent or legal guardian to work the election;
  • Have consent of his/her school principal (or parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students); and
  • Complete any required election worker training program.

How to Apply

    • Fill out the Student Election Clerk Application and Permission Slip (PDF).
    • Have your parent or guardian sign the Parent/Legal Guardian Permission portion.
    • Have your school principal sign the School Principal Authorization portion. Also, take the proper steps to ensure that your absence from school in order to work during Early Voting or on Election Day will be excused.
    • Send the application to the local elections officials conducting the election in which you wish to serve (county clerk/elections administrator, city secretary, school superintendent, etc.). Try to send application at least 60 days prior to Election Day (even though there is no statutory deadline).
    • If selected, attend the required election training class prior serving as a clerk. This training provides all the necessary information and knowledge to be a successful elections clerk.
    • Work at the polls as assigned during Early Voting or on Election Day.

Important Notes

  • 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.
    • Example: A student could work two weekdays during Early Voting for an election held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, and then also work on Election Day, as the student would only have to be excused from school for two days
  • 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.

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.