- Are you registered to vote? You still have time to register. In Texas you can register through Oct. 9. In Arkansas, the deadline is Oct. 6. You can clip out a registration form or download one off the internet and mail it to the county voter registrar. In Arkansas you can also register on-line.
- Can I vote by mail? In Texas, you can request a mail-in ballot if you are: 65 years or older, disabled, out of the county on election day and during the period of early voting (this includes students away at college), or confined in jail but otherwise eligible. In Arkansas to receive an absentee ballot, you need to request to have an absentee ballot application sent to you by contacting your County Clerk in the county where you are registered to vote. You may also download an absentee ballot application.
- When does early voting begin? In both Arkansas and Texas early voting begins Oct. 22. That’s less than three weeks away, but it’s plenty of time to become familiar with key races and determine how you will vote.
- What types of identification do I need in to vote? I am already on record as being opposed to this photo ID hoax Republicans have duped most of the country into believing. Constitutional or not, photo ID is the law and you must show one of the following in Texas: Driver’s license issued by DPS, Election ID with photo issued by DPS, Personal ID card issued by DPS, Handgun license issued by DPS, US military ID with photo, US citizenship certificate with photo, and US passport. Arkansas poll workers will be required to request that voters present a photo ID card. This ID must show the voter’s name and photo and must be issued by either the state or federal government. A free voter verification card is available through the Secretary of State’s office or your county clerk for any voter who does not have another ID valid for voting.
- When was the last time you voted? The trend is alarming. Fewer Americans are voting. Our lives are busy. Between football practice, work and supper, voting can find itself sitting on the curb. Even folks who do have abundant time fail to place a high enough priority on voting to get the job done. Certainly, there are issues and candidates in this election that deserve your attention and your support, but I won’t try to convince you the fate of the republic hangs on your choice. What is important is citizen participation in the electoral process. When few people vote, fewer people have an interest or stake in our country. The danger of apathetic citizens failing to hold those in power accountable is real. You can send a message that we are awake and not just watching the cork on the end of our fishing line.
- What does voting mean to you? Getting to vote was something of an accomplishment for me. My birthday is at the end of October. I was not old enough to vote when the voter registration deadline passed. My father persuaded the county registrar to accept me onto the rolls after I produced my birth certificate. I voted absentee or by mail, since I was only home from college on the weekends.
I do recall voting by mail in my second election. I received the ballot in Vietnam. I returned it in the next mail, signing my name in the top right corner where the stamp normally goes.
During my year in Southeast Asia, I loaded body bags with the remains of fine young men who died so I could have the right to vote. I try not to waste it.
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