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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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Kansas Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 18, 2016

For more information, visit the Kansas Secretary of State’s website.

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

Kansas prohibits electioneering, or otherwise attempting to persuade or influence eligible voters, within 250 feet from the entrance of any polling place on Election Day or advance voting site during the permitted time period for advance voting. 

County elections officials may allow exit pollsters, members of the media, or election observers into the 250-foot zone on a countywide or precinct-by-precinct basis.

Kansas law also allows candidates, party chairs, and other politically affiliated individuals to appoint one “poll agent” (often called a “poll watcher”) to observe the voting process from within the polling place and to observe canvassing.  Such poll agents may not handle ballots or hinder or obstruct voters.  They must wear badges that contain the word “Observer” in large print, and they must carry and be prepared to present authorization or other official identification.

Election Day:

The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (in the Central Time Zone) or 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (in the Mountain Time Zone) on Election Day.** 

**Different hours for opening and closing of polling places may be set and publicly announced by your county election official, so long as the polls are open for at least 12 continuous hours.

Kansas offers advance voting in person or by mail for voters wishing to vote early.  Advance voting by mail begins 20 days before Election Day.  In-person voting begins no later than the Tuesday before Election Day, and in some counties, may begin up to 20 days before Election Day.  The deadline to apply for an advance ballot to be mailed is November 4, 2016.

How to Find Your Polling Place: Use the Kansas Polling Place Search.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines: You must register 21 days prior to Election Day.  The deadline for this year’s General Election is Tuesday, October 18.  Registration forms must be delivered or postmarked by that date.

How to Check Your Registration: Use Kansas’s Registrant Search website.

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

  • Be a resident of Kansas;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day;
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Not be barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction and have received final discharge from imprisonment, parole, or conditional release if convicted of a felony; and
  • Not have been declared disqualified by a Kansas court of law.

There is no length of residency requirement in Kansas, but a person must be registered 21 days before the election and must be a resident at the time of registration.

How to Register: Kansas residents may register in person, by mail, or online.


In order to register to vote online, you must have either a Kansas Driver’s License or a Non-Driver’s Identification Card.  Applicants can apply to register on the Secretary of State’s website.

By Mail

In order to register by mail, you must obtain a mail-in registration form by:

  • Downloading a mail-in form from the Secretary of State’s website;
  • Picking up a form at your county election office, Secretary of State’s office, or other various sites around the state (including many banks, grocery stores, libraries, city offices, and certain public events such as county and state fairs); or
  • Downloading and mailing a federal voter registration form to the appropriate county elections official.

In Person

You may register to vote or update voter registration information in person in any of the following ways:

  • At your local county election office or the Secretary of State’s Office;
  • When applying for or renewing your driver’s license or State Identification Card with the Kansas Division of Vehicles; or
  • When receiving services at a wide range of social service organizations.

Return all fully completed applications to your county election office by mail, by fax, or in person, or electronically (if eligible).  County addresses are listed on the back of the application.

Identification Required for Registration: Voters may register by mail without identification, but they must provide a form of identification when they vote at the polls on Election Day.

As a result of ongoing litigation, voters who registered at the Kansas Division of Vehicles or used a federal (rather than a state) registration form should be registered to vote and their names should appear on the registration list, even if they did not provide documentary proof of citizenship.  They should cast a regular ballot, and their votes should count for all elections, federal, state, and local. 

Voters who registered using a state form but did not provide documentary proof of citizenship (birth certificate, passport, naturalization document, Bureau of Indian Affairs card number or tribal treaty or enrollment number, hospital record indicating place of birth in U.S., military record showing U.S. birthplace) have been placed on a suspension list.  They are not eligible to vote in this election.

If You Want to Vote Early

Kansas offers advance voting by mail or in person for all registered voters.  Applications for advance mail-in ballots must be received by the county election officer by November 4.  Applications can be returned by mail, by fax, or in person.  Advance voting by mail begins twenty days before Election Day, October 19.  In-person voting begins no later than the Tuesday before Election Day and ends at noon on the day before Election Day; in some counties, early in-person voting may begin up to twenty days before Election Day.  All ballots must be received in the County Election Office by the close of polls on Election Day.  For more information on advance voting, visit the Kansas advance voting information page.  

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Valid forms of ID are:

  • Driver’s license or state ID card issued by Kansas or another state or district of the United States;
  • Concealed carry of handgun license issued by Kansas or a concealed carry of handgun or weapon license issued by another state or district of the United States;
  • US passport;
  • Employee badge or ID document issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office or agency;
  • US military ID document;
  • Student ID card issued by an accredited postsecondary education institution in Kansas;
  • Public assistance ID card issued by a municipal, county, state, or federal government office or agency; or
  • Indian tribe ID card.

An ID listed above is valid if it contains the name and photograph of the voter and has not expired.  However, expired documents are valid for voters who are 65 years of age or older.

Exceptions to the photo identification requirement include:

  • Persons with a permanent physical disability that makes it impossible to travel to a county or state office to obtain a qualifying form of identification and who have qualified for permanent advance voting status;
  • Members of active duty uniformed service, merchant marine, or their spouses or dependents, who by reason of such active duty or service, are absent from the country on election day; and
  • Any voter who transmits a declaration to the county election officer or Secretary of State stating their religious beliefs prohibit photographic identification.

A voter without a valid form of identification, or whose name and address do not match the voter’s name and address on the voter rolls, may vote a provisional ballot.  The voter is then required to provide a valid form of identification to the county election official in person or provide a copy by mail or by electronic means to the county election office in the county where the voter is registered before the meeting of the county board of canvassers, which is generally held on the morning of the Monday following the election.  At the meeting of the county board of canvassers, the county election official shall present copies of identification received from provisional voters and the corresponding provisional ballots.  If the county board of canvassers determines that the voter’s identification is valid and the provisional ballot was properly cast, the ballot will be counted.

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

Moving within the Same County

A voter who moved within the same county (whether to a new precinct or within the same precinct) should update their registration information as soon as possible.  A voter who moved within the county fewer than 30 days before the election may vote in the precinct of his or her old residence upon making an affidavit stating the voter’s old and new addresses, the date of the move, and that the voter has not yet voted in the election.  A voter who moved within the same county more than 30 days before the election to a different address from that shown in the registration book may vote by provisional ballot at the voter’s new polling place or at a central location determined by the county election official, after completing a new registration card.  A provisional ballot cast in this circumstance will count.

Moving Between Counties

A voter who moved to a different county should update their registration information as soon as possible.  An inter-county voter who moved within 30 days of the election may vote in the precinct of his or her old residence upon making an affidavit stating the voter’s old and new addresses, the date of the move, and that the voter has not yet voted in the election.  A voter who moved to a different county more than 30 days before the election without re-registering will not have his/her vote counted.  Such a voter may cast a provisional ballot in reliance on the general provision governing voters whose names do not appear in the registration book, but the provisional ballot will not be counted.

For more information on moving issues, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for advance 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 (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  A Kansas resident can apply through the Kansas Online Voter Registration page.

UOCAVA voters may also register to vote and request an absentee ballot through the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s FVAP’s Online Assistant or by mailing their completed form to their county election office.  For more information on completing and mailing an application, visit the FVAP’s Kansas specific website.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their absentee ballots by U.S. Mail, fax, or email.  Ballots must be returned via U.S. Mail, commercial carrier, hand delivery, fax, or email.

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.  If you do not receive your regular absentee ballot in time, you may use the FWAB.  Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Kansas by Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s Kansas-specific FWAB page

In Kansas, conviction of a state or federal felony results in the loss of voting rights until the person completes the terms of the sentence.  If the person is granted probation or parole, the terms of the sentence are not completed until the probation or parole is finished.  A person who loses voting rights because of a felony conviction must re-register to vote after the sentence is completed, as the county election official does not automatically restore the person’s name to the registration list once the sentence is completed.


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