By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 8, 2014
If you plan on voting in this year’s primary, you should take note of a few changes.
Early voting for the March 4 Republican and Democratic primaries is each weekday, Feb. 18-28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at three locations in Wise County. A big change for this year is the early voting location in Decatur, which has moved from the Civic Center to Decatur City Hall, 201 E. Walnut.
Rhome City Hall, 105 First St., and the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center, 1000 Thompson St., are the other early voting locations.
The Decatur Wal-Mart, 800 S. U.S. 81/287, will also host early voting 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.
Two election-day voting locations have also changed. Registered voters in Precincts 2-7 and 2-8 will not vote at the Decatur Civic Center but rather the Assumption Catholic Church, 1305 S. Deer Park in Decatur.
If you didn’t vote in last November’s general election that featured amendments to the Texas Constitution, something else will be new.
Texas now requires voters to present a valid form of photo identification before casting a ballot. Prior to last fall, your voter registration card was all that was needed. The change is due to a law passed by the Texas legislature in 2011.
The law includes seven forms of acceptable ID:
- Texas driver’s license
- Texas election identification certificate (EIC)
- Texas personal identification card
- Texas concealed handgun license
- United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
- United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
- United States passport
To be eligible for a Texas election identification certificate (EIC), you must not have any other acceptable form of identification. An EIC may be obtained at any DPS office in the state during regular business hours. Certain DPS Driver License offices will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through March 1. The closest offices that are open on Saturdays are located at 820 N. Loop 288 in Denton, 624 NE Loop 820 in Hurst, 6316 Lake Worth Blvd. in Lake Worth, and 190 N. Valley Pkwy. Ste. 201 in Lewisville.
Voters with a disability could apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption if they meet certain requirements. Voters with a religious objection to being photographed, or voters who have lost their ID as a result of certain natural disasters, may vote a provisional ballot.
They and those with religious objections must sign an affidavit within six days of the election at the voter registrar’s office swearing to those facts.
If the name on your photo identification does not match the name on the voter rolls, it will be up to the election judge to determine if the name is “substantially similar.” If so, the voter will simply check a form stating they are who they say they are.
If the person does not have proper photo identification, they will still be allowed to vote provisionally. They will then be required to show proper identification to the county voter registrar within six days of the election.
For more information on the new photo identification law, visit wcmess.com/VoteID. For more information on the law or other election-related questions, call the Wise County Elections office at 940-626-4453.