Making Democracy Work

Nov 2016 Voter ID Requirements

What forms of ID must I bring with me when I vote?

Appeal Filed

Friday, September 23, 2016

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that the Texas Voter ID law be reinstated. We will post information about this appeal as we get it.

For more information, see this article from The Texas Tribune.

According to the Texas Tribune article, the Supreme Court appeal will not affect the November 8, 2016, election. If that is the case, the voter ID requirements below are in effect for this election.

Forms of Identification

When you go to vote in the November 2016 election, you must already be registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote in this election is October 11, 2016.

In-person voting for citizens with photo ID

If you are registered and present one of the forms of photo ID listed below, you may vote without doing anything further.

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS);
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS;
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS;
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS;
  • United States military identification card containing the person's photograph;
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph; or
  • United States passport.

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 4 years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

In-person voting for citizens without photo ID

If you are a registered voter but do not have one of the forms of photo ID listed above and have difficulty obtaining one, you may sign a one-page form (called the Voter's Declaration of Reasonable Impediment or Difficulty). You must then present one of the following supporting documents, and you may vote using a regular (not provisional) ballot:

  • Valid voter registration certificate;
  • Certified birth certificate (must be an original);
  • Copy of or original current utility bill;
  • Copy of or original bank statement;
  • Copy of or original government check;
  • Copy of or original paycheck; or
  • Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph).

For more information on required identification, go to the VoteTexas.gov website, the official state website for voting information.

Why has the voter ID requirement changed?

On July 20, 2016, a Federal Appeals Court ruled that the existing Texas photo ID law violated the provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Appeals Court asked the lower (District) court judge to put into place a voter ID system for the November 2016 election.

The parties to the lawsuit reached an agreement concerning acceptable forms of identification, and it was put into place for this election.

For more information about the Appeals Court ruling, click here.

On September 20, 2016, the District Court entered an additional order that the State of Texas must change the wording of press releases, posters, flyers, training materials, and online sources of information to accurately reflect the previous court order concerning photo ID.

The plaintiffs had argued that some of the materials published by the state were misleading, in that they stated that voters who "could not obtain" photo ID would be allowed to present alternate forms of ID in order to vote.

The previous court order said that voters who " 'do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot obtain one due to a reasonable impediment' may vote after signing the Reasonable Impediment Declaration." The state must change printed and online materials to reflect that wording.