What you CAN’T have while voting

Polling location rules

Under Texas law, no electioneering or campaign materials — including clothing — are allowed within 100 feet of a polling building during voting. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

If you’re headed to the polls on Election Day on Tuesday, you’ll be expected to follow a handful of rules. While there are items you must bring (see below), some things are best left at home or in your vehicle unless you won’t be getting any closer than 100 feet of a polling building’s entrance. 

Items not allowed within that distance, which, by state law, should be marked for all to see, are campaign and electioneering materials such as clothing, hats, bags, etc., that visually show support of a political party, candidate, or ballot measure. 

“Our poll workers are going to make people go take (shirts and hats) off or turn their shirt wrong side out to be able to enter the polling place if they have such clothing or items,” said Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson said.  

Those breaking that 100-foot rule could face a Class C misdemeanor. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the local elections officials to make the final determination (if something violates that rule),” said Stephen Chang of the Texas Secretary of State‘s office.

Cellphones cannot be turned on while inside the polling location, Ferguson reminded. If someone has notes for who or what they intend to vote, he recommends writing them on a piece of paper rather than saving them on their phone.

Also, according to state law, firearms are not allowed inside polling locations except those carried by licensed peace officers.

Face coverings are recommended but not required, and masks cannot promote political parties or candidates. Face masks and gloves will be available at each polling place for voters who want them.

“Cleaning and sanitizing is going on between every voter who uses one of the voting machines as well as the styluses used for the check-in process,” Ferguson said. “We have a full-time cleaning person assigned to each voting location and lots of supplies.”

Here’s what you DO need to bring to the polls to vote: any one of seven approved forms of photo identifications, including a Texas driver’s license, a Texas Election ID Certificate, a Texas personal ID card, a Texas handgun license, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo, a U.S. military ID with a photo, or a U.S. passport with photo. Someone who does not posses any of these and cannot reasonably obtain one might qualify for a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. Check the Texas Secretary of State’s Vote Texas website for more information on the declaration. 

For more of what is and is not allowed inside polling locations, read the Texas Secretary of State’s election advisory.

In Burnet County, voters can choose any of the 21 polling locations in the county to cast their ballot on Election Day. Llano County residents cast ballots in their designated election precincts, which can be found on your voter registration card or by visiting the Secretary of State’s webpage

For Election Day polling locations, visit the DailyTrib.com How to Vote Guide.

Contact the Burnet County Elections Office or the Llano County Elections Office for more information. The Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov also has information you may need to vote. Most important: Do vote if you are registered and have not done so already. It’s the American way!

daniel@thepicayune.com 

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