Bring Your ID and Receipt to Vote

Are you planning on voting early in Travis County? Did you register to vote through a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR) or register to vote on a yellow application? Bring the receipt you received when you registered to vote with you, along with an approved ID, when you go to vote!


Residents of Travis County may have heard of the record-breaking voter registration rates. Travis County had a goal this year of registering 93% of the county’s eligible voters. The county exceeded that goal and it on its way to possibly breaking 94%. The county received more than 38,000 applications the last week to register.


Because the state of Texas requires new voter applications to be paper applications, though, all paper applications must be processed and inputted in the voter lists by hand. Processing large numbers of applications takes a lot of time, which can be worrisome for voters whose applications are not processed by the time early voting begins.


As of Thursday night, the Austin Statesman reported that Travis County had about 12,000 more applications to process. Even though staffers were reported to be processing at a rate of 5,000 applications a day, no news sources or Travis County officials have reported that the county has successfully processed all applications as of late Sunday evening.


As the Statesman reports, “the message we want to send to our voters is even if we’re running behind, they’re not going to be affected by it as long as their application is deemed valid, “ Bruce Elfant, the Travis County Voter Registrar, said. “They will cast a provisional ballot, and it’ll be a very short period of time (until) we’ll have the rolls complete and we’ll be able to make their ballot whole.”


Even if Travis County employees process all 38,000 applications by Oct. 22nd, there is no certainty that the information that employees have inputted is correct. Staffers usually have to decipher nearly illegible handwriting and torn or damaged applications. The additional pressure to process a large number of applications in a short period of time only increases the likelihood of inputting errors into voting records.


This likelihood is not a failure of Travis County staffers, but a failure of paper applications and the requirement of a staffer as an intermediary in the voter registration process.


The recommendation by Bruce Elfant to those who wish to vote is to bring the yellow voter registration application receipts with them to help poll works verify voter eligibility. Recommendations that Volunteer Deputy Registrars (VDRs) give applicants when they register to vote is to not throw away receipts until they receive voter registration cards in the mail. Receipts verify that voters are eligible to vote and registered in time, which is why they are important records to maintain until voter registration cards can be held in-hand.


If voters do not have their yellow receipts, then they should still be prepared to vote with a provisional ballot if their information is currently not up-to-date in the Secretary of State’s voter registration database.


A voter may verify their current voter information by visiting this website. Even though a voter may have updated their voter information on a paper application before Oct. 9th, online records may not currently reflect updated information due to the processing of so many applications.


Despite possible processing problems, voters should still feel compelled to vote early, even as early as Monday, Oct. 22nd.  Voting early has many advantages, which allows voters to plan flexible voting times, dates and polling locations around their busy schedules.


If students are planning to vote early on the University of Texas at Austin’s campus, then they should, too. The only difference between voting on Election Day and voting early is the amount of time a person waits in line to cast a ballot. While a student may wait 0 to 10 minutes in line to vote early, previous elections have had 5 to 6 hour wait times on Election Day. If you enjoy queues, cast your vote on Election Day.


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