It’s National Voter Registration Day – Are You Ready to Vote?

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It’s almost Election Day – Are you ready to vote? Image Credits: Portland Mercury

Ainsley Gill, Executive News and Opinions Editor

In 42 days, citizens across America will head to the polls to cast their vote for president. This election marks the first time that many seniors will be able to vote and it’s important that those of us who are eligible take the time to cast our ballots, fulfilling our civic duty and exercising the freedoms that those who came before us have fought so hard to expand and protect. But before we can pull that lever and cast our ballots, we need to be registered. September 22 is National Voter Registration Day, created to provide an important reminder for all eligible voters (which now includes some of us!) to make sure that everything is in order for them to exercise their constitutional right.

In Texas, you must register at least 30 days before election day, meaning that the last day to mail in your registration form is Monday, October 5, though it’s best to send it in as soon as possible. To register, fill out this form, print it out, and mail it in to the Harris County election office. The form requires basic information, like your legal name, birthday, address, and basic contact info. You’ll also need your Texas Driver’s License number or Texas Personal I.D. number or, alternatively, the last 4 digits of your social security number.

If you’re already registered or if you’ve mailed in your form and want to check your registration status, It’s super easy to double check – simply click here and input your first and last name, county of residence and date of birth. Once this information is input, you can also view a list of polling places you can vote at on election day and their hours of operation. 

Election Day is November 2, but early voting is available from October 13 to October 30. Note that all polling places may not be open for early voting – check here to find yours. When you head to the polls, make sure to bring proper identification with you. A list of approved forms of ID is available here

If you’re concerned about the safety of voting during COVID-19, know that for Harris County, PPE will be provided for poll workers, sanitization stations will be available, voters will be given finger covers to avoid germs spreading through voting machine use, and social distancing procedures will be in place through markings on the floors and the placement of voting machines. You may also want to consider early voting, which is often less crowded and has shorter lines. In Texas, only those over 65 or those who are sick or disabled or those who will be out of the country on election day and throughout the entire early voting period are eligible to vote by mail. So, most of us will likely not be eligible, but if you know someone or have a family member who is, you can direct them here to access the application to vote by mail and other helpful information about this process. 

Remember that more than just the presidential election is on the ballot. You’ll also be voting for your Senator, Congressional Representatives and many more local and state offices. Not sure who to vote for? Voting 411, a non-partisan site, provides information about candidates on important issues and compares their positions using the candidates’ own words for nearly every race on the ballot. Check it out here and simply input your address to view information on the races in your area.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re 18 and a U.S. Citizen, go register and make sure to plan when, where, and how you’ll vote!

Mail your voter registration paperwork to:

ANN HARRIS BENNETT

Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar

P.O. Box 3527

Houston, Texas 77253-3527

 

More resources:

Harris County Voting Info Site 

Find A Polling Place 

View a Sample Ballot  

Apply to be a Student Election Worker