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Monday Feb. 5 is the deadline to register to vote in the March 5 elections

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It’s almost time to head to the polls again! But before you go out and participate in democracy, you need to make sure you're registered to vote. Monday, Feb. 5, is the last day to register. Here's what you need to know to make sure you can vote in the Texas primary on March 5.

Am I eligible to vote?

U.S. citizens 18 and older are eligible to vote in the March 5 primary.

Citizens cannot register to vote if they have been declared mentally incapacitated by a court or are currently convicted of a felony (though there are exceptions if they have served the sentencing terms, been pardoned or placed on parole).

If you are not currently 18 but will be, on or by Election Day, you cannot vote in the March 5 primary election, per Texas law.

How can I register to vote?

You can confirm your voter registration status through the Texas Secretary of State's “My Voter Portal.” You do not have to re-register unless you recently changed your name or address. If you have, you can update your registration online.

College students studying in Texas can also choose to register to vote in state with their current address, including residence halls or temporary housing.

If this is your first time registering, you must complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office. Texas does not offer online voter registration unless you are renewing, replacing or updating your Texas driver's license or ID on the Department of Public Safety website.

To complete a voter registration application, you can:

Voting by mail?

Not everyone is allowed to vote by mail in Texas. You can only vote by mail if you:

  • will be out of your registered county on Election Day and the entire early voting period
  • are 65 years or older by Election Day
  • expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day;
  • are sick or disabled; or
  • confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

To vote by mail, print the “Application for Ballot by Mail” or submit an online request for it to be mailed to you. Simply fill out the required sections and sign your name with the date, then mail the completed application to the early voting clerk in your county, or fax the application. You can visit the Texas Secretary of State website for more guidance.

The deadline to submit a request for a mail-in ballot is Feb. 23. The last day to postmark and return a completed mail-in ballot is March 5.

Students with a Texas residence, but attending college out of state can apply for an absentee ballot.

Important dates for the March 5 election:

  • Feb. 5 — Deadline to register to vote
  • Feb. 23 — Deadline to request a mail-in ballot
  • Feb. 20 to March 1 — Early voting
  • March 5 — Election Day
  • Deadlines for mail-in ballots:

  • Postmarked: March 5
  • Post received: March 6 at 5 p.m.
  • In-person received: March 5 at 7 p.m.

What do I bring with me?

Everyone is required to bring some sort of photo identification to the polls. There are seven acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • Texas driver's license
  • Texas election identification certificate
  • Texas personal identification card
  • Texas handgun license
  • U.S. military identification card that includes the person’s photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate that includes the person’s photograph
  • U.S. passport 

Voters’ ID should remain up to date, but cannot exceed four years past its original expiration. Voters aged 70 or older can bring a valid photo ID that has expired for any length of time.

If you cannot provide a photo ID during election season, here are the acceptable alternatives:

  • certified domestic birth certificate or court-admissible birth document
  • government document showing your name and an address (i.e. your voter registration certificate)
  • bank statement
  • paycheck
  • current utility bill
  • government check

After presenting either the original or a copy of these documents, you will sign a reasonable impediment declaration.

You are not allowed to use any sort of wireless communication device inside the voting booth, but you can bring written materials, such as a paper with your selected candidates, to assist you in casting your ballot.

Ren Leija