ROY MAYNARD, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nov. 8 election is fast approaching, but Smith County voters can only take part if they register by the end of business on Tuesday.
“Registration has been very busy this year,” Elections Administrator Karen Nelson said. “We’ve had to add two extra tables in our foyer, because we’ve had so many people come in wanting to register.”
According to the county, there are more than 133,000 registered voters in Smith County - a 30 percent increase so far from the 102,626 registered voters in the 2012 general election.
And hundreds are coming in each day, Ms. Nelson said.
“We have more registered voters than we’ve ever had in Smith County,” she said. “And every day more people coming in and mailing their registration applications in, and our volunteer deputy registrars are out getting more.”
She noted that Monday is a federal holiday - Columbus Day - but the Smith County Elections Office, 302 E. Ferguson St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“If voters mail in their registration application, it has to be postmarked by Oct. 11, as well,” she said.
To register to vote in Smith County, people must be a U.S. citizen, be a resident of Smith County, be 18 years old on Election Day, not be a convicted felon (unless a person’s sentence is completed, including any probation or parole), and not have been declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.
State officials say a 17-year-old is eligible to register to vote, as long as he or she will be 18 on Nov. 8.
Voters should be aware of voter ID laws that will be enforced during early voting and on Election Day. But the rules have been relaxed somewhat, after an appeals court ruling in July.
The state moved from requiring voters to show one of seven forms of suitable ID - a list that included concealed handgun permits but not college IDs - to letting those without such an ID to sign an affidavit. That will allow them to cast a regular full ballot and their vote will be counted.
For more information, go to VoteTexas.gov.
IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES:
Oct. 11: Last day to register to vote
Oct. 24: First day of early voting
Oct. 28: Last day to apply for a ballot by mail
Nov. 4: Last day of early voting
Nov. 8: Election Day, last day to receive a ballot by mail