The 2020 general election is approaching quickly, and many Texans are expressing uncertainty about mailin voting and non-citizen voting. According to the Texas Secretary of State, 2020 will be no different from any election year before. Voters will have the option to vote in person or by mail. For either route, a voter registration application must be submitted no later than Oct. 5 for those who have not already registered and voted in the primary election in March.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
Voter registration can be done by printing the voter registration form on the Texas Secretary of State website and mailing the completed form to the local election office. The form may also be hand-delivered to the election office. The election office will then send the voter registration card.
In order to register to vote in Texas, certain conditions must be met. The applicant must be a citizen of the United States and resident of the county in which the application for registration is made, be at least 17 years and 10 months old (You must be 18 to vote.), and have not been declared mentally incompetent by final judgment of a court of law. If the applicant is a convicted felon, they must be fully discharged from punishment, including incarceration, parole, supervision or period of probation, or have been pardoned.
CASTING YOUR VOTE
Early voting will begin in Texas on Oct. 13 and end on Oct. 30. The general election will take place Nov. 3. To vote in person, registered voters will visit the local election office. A photo identification card or certificate issued by the State of Texas or the federal government must be provided to election staff.
Acceptable forms of identification include Texas driver’s licenses, election ID certificates, ID cards, handgun licenses, military identification cards, U.S. citizenship certificates, or a U.S. passport. Expired cards and certificates are considered valid for voting purposes if the expiration was less than four years prior to voting.
For voters without an acceptable form of identification, options are available. A sworn statement that there is a valid reason these forms are unavailable to the voter must be provided to the election office along with a certified birth certificate, valid voter registration certificate, current utility bill, government check, bank statement or paycheck, or government document with the correct name and address.
To vote by mail, an absentee ballot application must be submitted to the local election office, and criteria must be met. To vote by mail, individuals must be 65 years or older, disabled, out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance, or be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible. The absentee ballot application must be filled out in its entirety as far in advance as possible.
The deadline to request this ballot is Oct. 23. After receiving the ballot, it must be filled out and returned to the election office. To find out where to cast a vote, contact the local elections office.
ON THE BALLOT
For house district Texas-02, Hopkins County voters may choose between Bill Brannon (D-Como) and Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City).
In congressional district Texas-04, voters may choose between Pat Fallon (R-Sherman), Russell Foster (D-Sherman), Lou Antonelli (Libertarian-Clarksville) and Tracy Jones (write-in).
The following local races are uncontested: Judicial District 08 (Eddie Northcutt, R-Sulphur Springs), Judicial District 62 (Will Baird, R-Paris), District Attorney District 08 (Will Ramsay, R-Mount Vernon), county attorney (Dustanna Hyde Rabe, R) County Sheriff (Lewis Tatum, R), county tax assessor-collector (Debbie Pogue-Mitchell, R) county commissioner pct. I (Mickey Barker, R), county commissioner pct. 3 (Wade Bartley, R), constable pct. I (Norman Colyer, R) and constable pct. II (John Brian Beadle, R).
To view details on all candidates on the general election ballot, including presidential, supreme court, and railroad commissioner, visit the Texas Secretary of State website.
—News-Telegram reporter Taylor Nye contributed to this report.