BURNET — A piece of 2011 state legislation finally comes into play this year as Texans look toward the Nov. 5 general elections.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held up Senate Bill 14, which requires Texans to show a valid form of photo identification when voting. The Texas Legislature passed the requirement in 2011, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office challenged it in the courts.
But with the high court decision, Burnet County Elections Administrator Barbara Agnew is preparing her staff and voters for the new requirements.
“I want voters to know the voter ID bill is in effect for these elections for the first time, so voters will need to provide one of seven forms of photo identification at the polling locations when they go to vote,” Agnew said.
The acceptable forms of photo identification are:
• Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety;
• Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS;
• Texas personal identification card issued by DPS;
• Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS;
• U.S. military identification card containing the voter’s photograph;
• U.S. citizenship certificate containing the voter’s photograph;
• U.S. passport.
Agnew said driver’s licenses and several other forms of identification must be current. If the identification has expired, the expiration date can’t be more than 60 days in the past.
If a person doesn’t have a driver’s license, a DPS-issued personal identification card or one of the other typical forms of identification, Agnew said he or she still can obtain a Texas Election Identification Certificate from DPS.
“That is an option,” she said.
In June, DPS officials said individuals may apply for an EIC at state driver’s license offices. But they must present documentation verifying U.S. citizenship and identity.
To qualify for an EIC, a person must be a U.S. citizen, a Texas resident and an eligible voter.
EICs are free and valid for six years, though cards issued to residents 70 years of age and older do not expire.
Go to www.txdps.state.tx.us for more information on obtaining an EIC.
Agnew said one of the challenges she and other election administrators faces is educating voters on the new law.
During the next several months, Agnew said she’ll be attending community meetings and trying to reach as many people as she can to spread the word.
Along with voters, election and poll workers also will undergo further training on the implementation of the new law.
People who aren’t registered to vote or have an expired voter’s registration card have until Oct. 7 to register for the upcoming election.
Go to burnetcountytexas.org or votetexas.gov for more information on voting and elections in Texas.
Staff writer Connie Swinney contributed to this report.