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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
Excerpt: 

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
Excerpt: 

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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Georgia Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

Georgia 6th Congressional District Special Election Runoff: June 20th, 2017

A voter can determine whether he or she is registered to vote by checking the Georgia “My Voter Page” on the Secretary of State’s Website.

Election Day:

The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on Election Day (polling locations in cities with more than 300,000 people must stay open until 8:00 p.m.).

Early Voting begins 21 days prior to a Primary, General, and Special Election and ends the Friday before Election Day. Early voting polling place hours vary by county in Georgia. For more information about voting early in Georgia, please visit: (http://sos.ga.gov/elections/CountyContacts/AdvanceVotingDisplay.aspx)

How to Find Your Polling Place:

A voter can determine his or her proper polling place by checking the Secretary of State’s Website (http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do).

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines: The voter registration deadline is/was the close of business on the fifth Monday before the election, or, when the fifth Monday is a holiday, the deadline is the following business day. The state of Georgia does not have Same Day Registration.

How to Check Your Registration: A voter can determine whether he or she is registered to vote by checking the Georgia “My Voter Page” on the Secretary of State’s Website (http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do).

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Georgia, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Reside in Georgia;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day;
  • Not be barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction; and
  • Not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court.

How to Register: There are many ways to register to vote:

  • Download, complete, and mail a Voter Registration Application.
  • Register online (https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/welcome.do#no-back-button) if you have a valid Georgia driver’s license or ID number.
  • Contact your local county board of registrars' office (http://sos.ga.gov/cgi-bin/countyregistrarsindex.asp) or election office, public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools and other government offices for a mail-in registration form.
  • Registration is offered when you renew or apply for your driver's license at Department of Motor Vehicle Safety.
  • College students can obtain Georgia voter registration forms, or the necessary forms to register in any state in the U.S., from their school registrar's office or from the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Identification Required for Registration: You must present a copy of one of the following forms of ID with your voter registration application OR when you vote for the first time:

  • A Georgia driver's license (expired is acceptable);
  • Valid photo ID card issued by any governmental agency or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States;
  • Valid U.S. passport;
  • A government employee photo ID;
  • Valid U.S. military ID card with photo;
  • Valid Tribal ID with photo;
  • Current utility bill showing name and address;
  • Valid government check or paycheck showing name and address;
  • Valid government document showing name and address; or
  • Current bank statement.

If You Want to Vote Early

Early Voting begins 21 days prior to a Primary, General, and Special Election and ends the Friday before Election Day. Early voting polling place hours vary by county in Georgia. For more information about voting early in Georgia, please visit: (http://sos.ga.gov/elections/CountyContacts/AdvanceVotingDisplay.aspx)

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Absentee voting allows registered voters to vote by mail or in-person on or before Election Day.  There are three types of voting before Election Day in Georgia:

1)      Absentee voting by mail: This type of absentee voting allows a voter (or an adult family member acting on behalf of a disabled voter or a voter who is temporarily out of the state) to request that an absentee ballot be sent to the voter by mail.  Any registered Georgia voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot.  No special circumstances are necessary. Voters (or an adult family member making the request on behalf of a disabled or temporarily absent voter) can obtain an absentee ballot application on the Secretary of State’s website (http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia), or at county boards of election offices.  A completed absentee ballot request can be mailed, e-mailed, faxed, or delivered to the county board of elections in person beginning 180 days prior to an election through the Friday before Election Day. Voters age 75 years and older as well as physically disabled voters may choose to complete one application and receive a ballot for the General Primary, General Primary Runoff (if needed) by correctly selecting that option on the absentee ballot application.  All other voters are required to make separate applications for each of the elections.

2)      The voter may vote the ballot and return it to the county board of elections by the ballot return deadline.  By law, Georgia requires that the ballot be returned by the voter, unless the voter is physically disabled.  The deadline to return an absentee ballot in-person or by mail is at the close of polls on Election Day.

If the voter did not supply acceptable ID when registering to vote and is voting for the first time as an absentee voter he/she must include a copy of one of the accepted forms of ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector.  Otherwise the absentee ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Georgia requires Photo ID in order to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • A Georgia driver’s license, even if expired;
  • Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free Voter ID Card issued by the voter’s county registrar or Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS);
  • Valid U.S. passport;
  • Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of the state of Georgia. 
  • Valid student ID issued by a Georgia public university, college, or technical college.  This does not include photo ID’s from private colleges, universities, or technical colleges.
  • Valid U.S. military photo ID; or
  • Valid tribal photo ID.

The address on the ID does not have to match the address at which the voter is registered to vote.

A voter without identification may vote a provisional ballot.  In order for the provisional ballot to count, the voter must present proper ID to the registrar’s office within 3 days after Election Day or the provisional ballot will not count.

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

Moving within the Same County

If you have moved within the precinct more than 30 days before Election Day, you should notify your board of registrars by the fifth Monday prior to the election.  Otherwise vote in your OLD precinct. If you have moved within the same precinct within 30 days of Election Day, you can vote in your OLD precinct.  Fill out a change of address form for the next election.

If you have moved within the same county but to a different precinct, and have moved within 30 days of Election Day, you can vote in your OLD precinct.  Fill out a change of address form for the next election. If you have moved within the same county but to a different precinct, and have moved more than 30 days of Election Day, you should notify your board of registrars by the fifth Monday prior to the election.  Otherwise vote in your OLD precinct.

Moving Between Counties

If you have moved to a different county within Georgia, and have moved within 30 days of Election Day, you can vote in your OLD precinct.  Fill out a change of address form for the next election. If you have moved to a different county within Georgia, and have moved more than 30 days of Election Day, you must register to vote in the voter’s new county of residence.  If a voter fails to register by the deadline, the voter may not vote in the election.

If the voter still thinks he or she is eligible to vote, the voter can use a provisional ballot.  If you voted a provisional ballot because your name did not appear on the list of registered voters in the precinct, the county registrar has up to three days after the election to determine if you were properly registered to vote in that election. If you were, your vote will count. If you were not eligible to vote in that election, your vote will not be counted, and you will be notified in writing. If you were eligible to vote but voted in the wrong precinct, only the votes for candidates for which you were entitled to vote will be counted, and you will be notified in writing that your ballot was partially counted for your correct precinct.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  (https://www.fvap.gov/georgia)

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  (https://www.fvap.gov/georgia)

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters.  You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities.  You must apply for a regular ballot early enough for your local election officials to receive the request at least 5 days before the election.  If you do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB.  Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Georgia no later than noon on Election Day. (https://www.fvap.gov/georgia)

A citizen cannot vote in Georgia if he/she has been convicted of a felony and is currently incarcerated, on probation, or on parole.  If the entire sentence, including probation and parole, is complete, the voter may re-register and vote a regular ballot.

FAQ

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