Early Voting Under Way

Time to cast ballots around the state

Early Voting Under Way

Good Monday morning, Texas. At 7am, if you are registered to vote, you may begin casting ballots on offices ranging from governor down to county offices, as well as some municipal decisions. Early voting for the Nov. 2 election runs today through Oct. 29. In most locations, polls are open 7am-7pm. For a list of Travis County voting locations, click here.

Austinites living in Williamson County should go to www.wilco.org/elections, and Hays County residents may click on www.elections.co.hays.tx.us.

Why vote early? Because it's convenient. There will be fewer, if any, lines. You may vote at any early or mobile voting location in the county in which you are registered, as opposed to Election Day, when you'll be required to vote in your precinct. Maybe an emergency will come up on Election Day that prevents you from getting to the voting booth. And seriously, if you wait until 6:50pm on Election Day, you're going to get stuck in the mad crush of other people who did the same thing. For all of Texas' other political faults, one thing this state makes really easy is voting. Go do it.

And don't let anyone stop you from doing it. The Texas Democratic Party sent out a really handy sheet (reprinted below) to help voters know their rights – give it a quick read, and make sure your vote gets cast (yeah, we know, there's no way to be sure of that with paperless electronic voting – we'll have to keep working on that problem).

Your Rights as a Voter

• If you have your voter registration certificate, you have the right to vote without presenting identification (unless this is your first time voting in a federal election in this county).

• You have the right to vote without presenting your voter registration certificate.

• If your name is on the voter registration roll, you must present one form of identification including driver’s license (valid or expired), a picture ID that establishes a person’s identity (e.g., employee identification card), a student ID, a library card, a “store” (e.g., Sam’s Club) card, birth certificate, citizenship papers, passport, concealed handgun license, official mail addressed to the voter by a government agency, a current utility bill, government paycheck.

• If your name is not on the voter registration roll when you arrive at the polls, you have the right to vote a provisional ballot. However, if you’re voting on Election Day, you must cast your ballot in the correct precinct for it to count. To cast a provisional ballot, you must do both of the following:

o Sign an affidavit attesting to your eligibility to vote
o Present proof of identification

• If you are inside the polling location or in line at your polling place any time between 7am and 7pm on E-Day, you have the right to vote.

• If you are physically disabled or over 65, you can vote curbside.

• You have the right to request assistance from the person of your choice (other than your employer or union representative) if you cannot read, write, see the ballot, or understand the language in which it is written.

• You may bring written materials into the voting booth (such as candidate literature or voter guides).

• You may receive up to two more ballots if you make a mistake while marking the ballot.

• You have the right to ask the polling place official for instructions on how to cast the ballot (but not for suggestions on how to vote).

• You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone. No one except an election judge or clerk has the right to talk to you in a polling place or in any way impede your access to a polling place. This restriction applies to poll watchers, law enforcement officers, and state or federal elections inspectors as well as campaign workers.

If your right to vote is questioned or you experience a problem at the polls:

• Don’t leave until the problem is resolved.

• Ask for help. Don’t cast your ballot if you are not confident that your vote is being recorded correctly. Once the ballot is cast, it’s too late.

• Get information (election workers names, serial number of machine if malfunctioning, anything that might be helpful in identifying the source of the problem).

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Elections, Election 2010, early voting

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