I’ll be honest y’all— I work here and even the rules around what is an acceptable form of voter ID confuses me. I consider myself extremely lucky to have access to resources if I have any questions around voting rights in general, so it’s just that much more important for me to let you know about your own voting rights!
Today, we’re going to talk about the kinds of voter IDs you can take with you to the polls, what’s not unacceptable, and much more. Don’t forget to check out our graphics on this important issue to share with your networks!
If there’s anything on this list that we didn’t cover, give us a call at 866-OUR-VOTE.
1. What kind of an ID does a voter need to vote?
A voter can use any one of these seven forms of ID to vote:
Texas Driver License
Texas Election ID Certificate
Texas Personal ID Card
Texas Handgun License
US Military ID Card (with photo)
US Citizenship Certificate (with photo)
US Passport (book or card)
2. What if I don’t have any of those forms of identification?
You may still be able to vote if you have a reasonable obstacle preventing you from obtaining one of those forms of ID.
Reasonable impediments include lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain acceptable photo ID, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen photo ID, or photo ID applied for but not received.
If you qualify, you will have to sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form affirming that you couldn’t get one, and provide to poll workers an original or a copy of one of the following:
Government document that shows your name and an address, such as your voter registration certificate;
Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck; or
Certified domestic birth certificate (from a U.S. state or territory) or a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law, which establishes your identity (may include a foreign birth document).
3. Does a voter’s address on their ID need to match their registration address?
Nope! There’s no address matching requirement in Texas. Showing a photo ID is used to prove identification, not proof of residence.
4. Is an expired form of photo ID acceptable?
If the voter is between 18 and 69 years old, their photo ID must be either 1) current or 2) not have expired for more than four years. If the voter is over 70, it can be expired for any length of time. In addition, please note that U.S. Citizenship Certificates do not expire.
5. What if the name on a voter’s identification does not exactly match their name on their voter registration card or on the voter registration rolls?
Election officials will review the ID and if the name is “substantially similar” to the name of the voter on their voter registration card or on the list of registered voters, they will be able to vote.
However, the voter will also have to sign an affidavit stating that they are the same person on the list of registered voters.
6. What if (1) someone refuses to show an acceptable form of identification or (2) they do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot get one due to a reasonable impediment, and refuse to show one of the forms of supporting identification?
Voters who refuse to show proof of identity will be allowed to vote by provisional ballot. However, the voter’s provisional ballot will not be counted unless the voter subsequently provides a valid form of photo ID, or has a reasonable impediment and provides a substitute form of ID.
We have graphics available on this important issue to share with your networks! And as always, give us a call at 866-OUR-VOTE if you need to report your voting experience or have any other voting-related questions.
Julien is the election protection digital fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Special thanks to the voting rights team at TCRP for compiling this information.