Learn everything you need to know to vote
When you arrive at the polling place, you will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo identification, unless you are a voter with a permanent exemption on your voter registration certificate. If you have not been able to obtain a form of acceptable photo identification and you have a reasonable impediment or difficulty to obtaining a form of acceptable photo identification, you may present one of the supporting forms of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. The election official will ask if you have moved and then ask you to sign the list of people who have voted in the precinct. Depending on the type of election – local, statewide, national, or combination – you will be handed:
Easy, right? For more information on your rights as a voter, please refer to our section on “Your Rights.”
Texans cast their votes by paper ballot or by using an optical scan system or DRE. (DRE stands for Direct Record Electronic system. A DRE also allows for the connection of an audio/headphone attachment, simple touch devices, or a sip and puff tube that enables the blind, elderly, physically disabled, and non-reading Texans to vote independently and in private.) The type of system on which you vote is decided by the political subdivision (county, city, school district, etc.) in which you live. Depending on where you live, you may also use a different system for early voting than on Election Day. Here’s a brief summary regarding the different voting methods:
Each polling place in Texas must offer at least one accessible voting system (either a DRE or an AutoMark), with the limited exception of sparsely populated jurisdictions conducting non-federal elections.
The State of Texas has selected and certified voting systems from three different vendors: Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, and Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold, Inc.). Regardless of the system you’re using, know this: When voting in the Lone Star State, you count. Texas makes sure. Following are the voting systems certified for use in Texas. (You can click on the name of each voting system to go to the manufacturer’s product description page.)
In many Texas counties, voters will cast their ballots using either an optical scan system or, as mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a DRE system. For step-by-step instructions on using (1) a paper ballot, (2) an optical scan voting system, (3) the ES&S AutoMARK (an electronic machine that assists disabled voters to mark a paper ballot), or (4) one of the DRE systems certified in Texas, click on the appropriate link. For an interactive tutorial on the HAVA sanctioned DRE system employed by your county, use the drop down menu to locate your county and then click “Go.” Have fun voting!
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