“Your vote counts.”
That’s what Texas. Sec. of State Carlos Cascos told a room of freshmen and sophomore University of Texas students Wednesday during the first stop of his voter education campaign.
Cascos’ goals? To travel around the state until Election Day and inform young and first-time voters why it’s important to vote. He said he hopes his efforts will translate into voter participation this November and in future elections.
Students were asked to raise their hands if they were interested in filling out Travis County voter registration cards provided by UT Votes, and Cascos, a 1974 UT graduate, told them he hoped those raised hands turn into votes.
“A lot of people believe that their vote doesn’t count. I can tell you personally that every vote does count,” he said, referring to his 2010 Cameron County judge race, which he won by 69 votes.
“A quarter of this room here could’ve flipped my race the other way around,” he told students.
Cascos explained the new Texas voter ID law, which makes it easier for voters to cast ballots because of the July U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that said the state’s law violates the Voting Rights Act.
He suggested students who might be discouraged by the candidate names on the ballot to do two things: Get to know candidates in the state and local races, and—if nothing else—cast a blank ballot.
“Maybe [a blank ballot]will send a message,” Cascos said.
UT Sophomore Madelyn Myers said she was on the fence about voting before Cascos delivered his message. She said his commitment to explaining why voting matters has encouraged her to cast a ballot.
“It’s just nice to hear someone talk about [elections]in a positive way,” Myers said.
What you need to know about voter ID
Voters who cannot obtain a form of approved photo ID now have additional options when voting in person. These additional options apply to current and upcoming school tax elections and the November general election.
If a voter is not able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID listed below, he or she can vote by signing a declaration at the polls explaining why he or she is unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID and providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.
The seven forms of approved photo ID are:
- Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
- United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
- United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
- United States passport
If you don’t have one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, you can use:
- A birth certificate (must be an original)
- A valid voter registration certificate
- A copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
Learn more at www.votetexas.gov
Important election dates:
Oct. 11: last day to register to vote
Oct. 24: early voting begins
Nov. 4: early voting ends
Nov. 8: general election day