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Who can vote and what to bring to the polls

Alexis Long

Student Life Editor

Election day is nigh and sometimes crucial information eludes young voters. Tuesday, Oct. 11 marked the last day to register to vote if residents wish to participate in the November general election.

Karen Nelson, Elections Administrator for Smith County, says the information isn’t as complicated as some may think.

According to Nelson, the county is seeing record numbers of voters registering with over 5,000 mail ballot being mailed out in Smith County as well as more than 134,000 registered voters in Smith County, a 31 percent increase from the 102,626 registered voters in the 2012 election.

Voters must present one of the following forms of photo ID when voting in person: Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Election Identification, personal identification card, license to carry a handgun, U.S. military identification card and/or citizenship certificate containing photograph or U.S. passport.

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

According to votetexas.gov, if a voter cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs, they can fill out a declaration at the polls explaining why and bring one of the following supporting documents: Valid voter registration certificate, certified birth certificate (must be an original), copy of (or original) current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document with name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph).

If a voter is military or lives overseas, Nelson says this isn’t an issue.

“If they are living overseas or they’re in the military, they need to file an FPCA which is a Federal Postcard Application and they’ll need to go through our office to able to get that with us on file with us so they can do a mail ballot,” said Nelson.

Early voting will start on Oct. 24 and will run through Nov. 4. Early voting polling locations can be found across Smith County and times will vary.

Oct. 24 through Oct. 28: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Oct. 29: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Oct. 30: 1 – 6 p.m.

Oct. 31 through Nov. 4: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Early voting polling locations:

Noonday Community Center (Tyler, TX)

Lillie Russell Memorial Library (Lindale, TX)

R.B. Hubbard Center “The HUB” (Tyler, TX)

Heritage Building (Tyler, TX)

Whitehouse Municipal Court (Whitehouse, TX)

Temporary branch early voting are located at Whitehouse Wildcat Stadium (Oct. 25 – 28), Brown Elementary School (Oct. 29), Overton City Hall (Oct. 24 – 28), and City Council Chambers (Oct. 31 – Nov. 4).

“We’re open 12 days straight so we have weekend voting as well,” said Nelson. “You could just show up because a lot of people want to get it out of the way and they don’t want to wait in a possible line on Election Day.”screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-11-24-27-am

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