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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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Utah Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 11, 2016 (by mail); November 1, 2016 (online or in-person)

For more information, visit the Utah Secretary of State’s website: http://www.utah.gov/government/secretary-of-state.html.

Election Day:

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. mountain time on Election Day.

Certain counties permit early voting (from October 25, 2016 - November 4, 2016).  To confirm which counties offer early voting, contact the lieutenant governor’s office at (801) 538-1041, or the county clerk’s office (county clerk’s contact information available here: https://vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/county-clerk.html.

How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the “Vote Utah” web page: https://vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/index.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines: The deadline for registering to vote by mail is 30 days before an election.  For this year’s General Election, the deadline for registering mail is October 11, 2016 (voter registration form must be postmarked by this date).

The deadline for registering online or in-person is 7 days before an election.  For this year’s General Election, the deadline for online or in-person registration is November 1, 2016.

Election Day voter registration is permitted in certain counties in Utah that are participating in Utah’s Election Day Voter Registration Pilot Project.  Those counties are:

  • Cache
  • Davis
  • Kane
  • Millard
  • Salt Lake
  • San Juan
  • Sanpete
  • Weber

How to Check Your Registration: Visit the “Vote Utah” web page: https://vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/index.

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

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Reside in Utah for at least 30 days immediately before the election;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day; and
  • Currently reside within the voting district or precinct in which you are registering to vote.

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


In order to register to vote online, you must have a current Utah Driver’s License or ID Card.  Applicants can register to vote online on the Lieutenant Governor’s website: https://secure.utah.gov/voterreg/index.html.

By Mail

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

In Person

You may register to vote in person at any of the following agencies:

  • The county clerk’s office;
  • The Driver’s License Division;
  • Division of Workforce Services;
  • Utah State Department of Health;
  • Women, Infant and Childcare Offices;
  • The Division of Services for People with Disabilities;
  • The Department of Rehabilitation; or
  • Public colleges and universities.

Identification Required for Registration: Voters must have a Utah Driver’s License or ID Card in order to register to vote.

If You Want to Vote Early

Certain counties permit early voting (October 25, 2016 - November 4, 2016).  Voters can determine whether their county permits early voting, and obtain location information for early voting, by contacting the lieutenant governor’s office at (801) 538-1041, or the county clerk’s office (https://vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/county-clerk.html).

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Any person who is registered to vote in Utah is eligible to vote by absentee ballot.  Voters may submit an Absentee Ballot Application in person at the county clerk’s office, or request an absentee ballot online (http://vote.utah.gov/menu/absentee.html).  The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is the Thursday before Election Day (November 3, 2016).  In order for a completed absentee ballot to be valid, it must be received by the county clerk’s office no later than the Thursday before Election Day, or submitted on Election Day at the polling location in the political subdivision where the absentee voter resides.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Valid forms of ID include any one of the following provided it is currently valid:

  • Utah driver license;
  • ID card issued by the state or a branch, department, or agency of the United States;
  • Utah permit to carry a concealed weapon;
  • United States passport;
  • United States military identification card; or
  • Tribal ID card, Bureau of Indian Affairs card or tribal treaty card (whether or not the card includes a photograph of the voter).

If a voter does not have one of the above forms of ID, they may submit any two of the following that bear the voter’s name and provide evidence that the voter resides in the precinct:

  • Current utility bill or copy thereof dated within 90 days before the election;
  • Bank or other financial account statement, or legible copy thereof;
  • Certified birth certificate;
  • Valid Social Security card;
  • Check issued by the state or federal government or legible copy thereof;
  • Paycheck from the voter’s employer, or legible copy thereof;
  • Currently valid Utah hunting or fishing license;
  • Certified naturalization documents (not a green card);
  • Currently valid license issued by an authorized agency of the United States;
  • Certified copy of court records showing the voter’s adoption or name change;
  • Valid Medicaid or Medicare or Electronic Benefits Transfer card;
  • Currently valid ID card issued by a local government within the state;
  • Currently valid ID card issued by an employer;
  • Currently valid ID card issued by a college, university, technical school or professional school within the state; or
  • Current Utah vehicle registration.

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

Moving within the Same County

If the voter has moved to a different precinct within the same county, and the voter provides the poll worker with valid identification establishing the voter’s identity and place of residence in the voting precinct, the voter will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.  The voter must cast the provisional ballot in the precinct of their current legal residence.  Votes cast in the wrong precinct will not be counted.

Moving Between Counties

A voter who changes addresses and moves from one county to another may not change their legal residence at the polls and vote a regular ballot.  The voter will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot at the polling place for their new address.  In order for the provisional ballot to count as a vote, the voter must show photo identification and proof of current residence.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Members of the military and citizens residing outside of the United States (Overseas Voters) may use the standard procedure for absentee voting, but there are special alternatives for Overseas Voters.  Overseas Voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Overseas Voters may also submit a declaration along with a federal write-in absentee ballot, if the declaration is received by the Thursday immediately before the Election.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Not later than 45 days before the election, the election official in each jurisdiction charged with distributing a ballot and balloting materials shall transmit a ballot and balloting materials to all Overseas Voters who by that date submit a valid overseas ballot application.  Overseas voters may choose the means of transmission.  If electronic transmission is selected, voters may choose either: (i) facsimile transmission; (ii) email delivery; or (iii) if offered by the voter’s jurisdiction, Internet delivery.  For more information on receiving your ballot, email elections@utah.gov.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by Overseas 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 Utah no later than noon on Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit Utah’s FVAP's website: https://www.fvap.gov/utah.

A citizen is not eligible to vote in Utah if they have been convicted of a felony in any state or federal court in the United States unless their right to vote has been restored.  After a felony conviction, the right to vote is restored when: (i) the felon has been sentenced to probation; (ii) the felon is granted parole; or (iii) the felon has successfully completed the term of incarceration to which the felon was sentenced.


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