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Texas bill: A step towards better voter ID education, greater transparency
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 12:00

The state has a responsibility to educate the public about voter identification requirements under SB 14, the voter ID law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. In July 2016, the state was also ordered by a federal court to engage in a $2.5 million voter ID education campaign as part of an interim remedy agreement. Despite evidence that the 2016 voter ID education campaign was not entirely successful, the state has not been forthcoming with details about the plan.

HB 3328 seeks to increase government transparency in the interest of improving voter ID education efforts by making information related to public spending on voter ID education public information subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act. The exceptions described in Sections 552.101 and 552.103 of the Government Code would no longer apply to such information.

Recent rulings that Texas' voting laws discriminate put pressure on the state, but the road ahead is long
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 01:00

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to address the discriminatory issues found with the voter ID law. But Democrats say it falls short of meeting the standards that a district court set last year.

Plaintiffs want District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi to consider throwing out the law after the legislative session and returning the state to the federal government's "pre-clearance" list.

But even if that happened, the Texas attorney general's office would almost certainly challenge the decision in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. ...

The parties in the [redistricting] case are set to meet in San Antonio on Thursday. The three-judge panel will hear updates on whether a trial is needed and what a timeline for the rest of the case might look like.

But the panel has moved slowly and methodically throughout the case for over six years. It is unlikely to grant the plaintiffs' requests — for new congressional maps for the 2018 elections and federal oversight — before tackling other remaining issues, such as whether the 2013 interim maps were also discriminatory.

And even if the court sided with the plaintiffs in a trial and struck down the maps, Texas could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court — dragging out the case even longer.

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New Jersey Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 18, 2016.

If You Are Approached on Your Way into the Polling Place or Challenged Inside the Polling Place

New Jersey prohibits electioneering, otherwise trying to influence voters, or distributing materials within the polling place or within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place.

New Jersey law allows the candidates and other politically affiliated individuals to nominate challengers, who must be appointed by the county board.  Only one challenger for any party, candidate, or political question may be present in the polls at a time, and all challengers must wear a badge identifying the person or party for which the challenger is acting.  Challengers may not challenge voters directly, as only election officials may ask the voter questions.

Election Day:

The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Voters in line by 8 p.m. are entitled to vote.

Mail-in ballots must be received by the Board of Elections by 8:00p.m. on Election Day.

How to Find Your Polling Place:

A voter can determine his or her proper polling place by checking the New Jersey Division of Elections’ website: (


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines:

The registration deadline is 21 days before Election Day.  The last day to register is October 18, 2016.   Registration forms must be postmarked or delivered by that date.  New Jersey does not have same-day voter registration.

How to Check Your Registration:

A voter can determine whether he or she is registered to vote by checking the New Jersey Division of Elections’ website ( 

Registration Eligibility:

In order to be eligible to register in New Jersey, a person must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Reside in New Jersey for at least 30 days before the election;
  • Be at least 17 years old (but a person who registers at 17 cannot vote until he or she turns 18);
  • NOT be currently incarcerated or on probation or parole for a felony conviction; and
  • NOT have been declared by a court mentally incompetent to understand the act of voting.

How to Register:

New Jersey residents may register in person or by mail.

By Mail

In order to register by mail, a voter may:

In Person

An individual may register to vote in person at any of the following places:

  • State Division of Elections (address is available at:
  • County Commissioner of Registration or Superintendent of Elections for the voter’s county, or the voter’s Municipal Clerk’s Office (addresses are available at:
  • Motor Vehicles Commission Office
  • Agencies offering food stamps, medical assistance, or other welfare or public assistance
  • Agencies offering assistance to people with disabilities
  • Armed Forces or National Guard recruitment offices
  • Many government offices
  • Public libraries
  • Offices that issue state licenses or permits
  • Through a voter registration drive

Identification Required for Registration

The New Jersey voter registration form asks all registrants to provide a driver’s license number, non-driver ID number, or the last four digits of a Social Security number, or to swear or affirm that they do not have any such number.  Individuals who register by mail and who cannot provide one of the requested numbers must submit a copy of an acceptable form of identification at the time of registration or at any time before voting.  Acceptable identification includes either a current and valid photo ID (e.g., student ID card, military ID), or any current document with the voter’s name and address such as a bank statement, pay check, sample ballot, utility bill, government check, car registration, or non-photo driver’s license.

If You Want to Vote in Person before Election Day

Early in-person voting is not explicitly allowed in New Jersey, but the law permits a voter to apply for and pick up a mail-in ballot at the county clerk’s office and then hand-deliver the ballot to the board of elections.  In most counties, the clerk’s office is near the board, making this early voting option more feasible.

If You Want to Vote by Mail-in Ballot

Any voter in New Jersey may vote by mail-in ballot.  A voter may either request a mail-in ballot from the county clerk by mail received at least 7 days before the election or apply for one in person at the county clerk’s office until 3:00 p.m. the day before the election.  To be counted, a mail-in ballot must be received by the board of elections by the close of polls on Election Day. 

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

New Jersey voters can vote without showing identification, with only one exception: a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide an accurate driver’s license number, non-driver ID number, the last four digits of a Social Security number, or acceptable identification at that time must present ID at the polling place on Election Day.  Acceptable identification includes either a current and valid photo ID (e.g., student ID card, military ID), or any current document with the voter’s name and address such as a bank statement, pay check, sample ballot, utility bill, government check, car registration, or non-photo driver’s license.

A voter who registered by mail without providing one of the requested numbers or acceptable ID, and who cannot produce such ID at the polling place on Election Day, will be asked to vote by provisional ballot instead of by machine.  After casting a provisional ballot, the first-time voter must provide proper ID to the county Superintendent of Elections or Commissioner of Registration by the close of business on the second day after the election.  A first-time voter should be encouraged to go and get acceptable identification if possible and NOT cast a provisional ballot.

VoteRiders has created New Jersey voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same County

If a voter has moved within the same district, the voter may cast a regular ballot upon completing a written affirmation at the polling place.  If a voter has moved to a different district within the same county, the voter may vote by provisional ballot in district to which he or she has moved, upon completing a written affirmation at the polling place.

Moving Between Counties

If, on or before the 21st day before the election, a voter moved to a new county from anther state or county and did not register to vote, he or she is ineligible to vote.  However, if the voter moved to a new county from another county in New Jersey within 20 days of the election, he or she may be eligible to vote in the election district where the voter resided before moving.

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and simultaneously request an absentee ballot.  If the voter requests to receive the ballot by air mail, the FPCA is due at least 30 days before the election (October 9, 2016).  If the voter requests to receive the ballot by fax or email, the FCPA is due at least 4 days before the election (November 4, 2016).  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) page: (

UOCAVA voters may also register to vote and request an absentee ballot through (

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their blank absentee ballots by air mail or electronic transmission.  To request election transmission of the blank ballot, UOCAVA voters must mark the appropriate box and provide an email address on the FPCA (  

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that UOCAVA voters may use.  UOCAVA voters may use this FWAB whether they are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that they are away from their voting residence for service-related activities.  If they do not receive their regular ballot in time, they may use the FWAB. 

Casting an Absentee Ballot

Ballots may be returned by air mail, commercial carrier, or hand delivery, or by fax or e-mail, so long as the voter also sends in the original ballot by air mail.  By whatever means ballots are sent, the relevant election officials must receive them by the close of polls (8 p.m.) on Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s website: (

New Jersey law permits persons with a felony conviction to vote so long as they are not currently incarcerated or serving a term of probation or parole.  Such voters must complete a new voter registration form once they become eligible and mail or hand deliver it 21 days before the election.


Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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Election Information for your state