East Texans to head to polls on first day of early voting
East Texans will be heading to the polls Tuesday, casting ballots on the first day of early voting in the March primaries.
Early voting will last for two weeks, with voters deciding which candidates from the Republican and Democratic primaries they want to see in November’s general election.
This will be the first election that many East Texans will need to bring a photo ID, following a Supreme Court ruling in the 2013 that allowed Texas’ voter ID law to go into effect.
Texans heading to the polls will need to present one of seven forms of Texas or U.S. photo identification: a Texas driver’s license, a Texas personal ID card, a Texas concealed handgun license, a U.S. military ID card, a U.S. citizenship certificate, a U.S. passport, or an election identification certificate. The Department of Public Safety said they will continue to issue the free election identification certificates through March 1 for Texans without alternative forms of photo ID.
The law has been of particular concern to many women, especially when it comes to some of their IDs having their maiden name versus their married name. Under the new law, names on IDs must match or be “substantially similar” to what’s on a voter’s registration card.
But in a visit to Tyler in early February, Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry said she ran into the same problem, only to find a quick solution.
“When the election judge there saw that she gave me an affidavit,” Berry said. “I had to initial it, it took me about a second and then I went in and voted.”
Berry said election judges across the state should be aware of those affidavits in the case of small name or spelling discrepancies.
If voters forget photo identification when they head to the polls, they will be able to fill out a provisional ballot, but will have to return within six days to show a required form of ID.
Voters will not need a photo ID if they have applied for an exemption due to documented disabilities, nor will they need an ID to vote by mail. However, the last day to request a mail-in ballot is Friday.
Early voting will run through February 28. The primary election date will then take place on March 4. Candidates with the most votes will then advance to the general election on November 4.