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Photo ID now required to vote in Texas

If you want to vote on statewide ballot measures and local offices, Monday's the deadline to register.

If you want to vote in Texas, you'd better bring your photo ID.

Texas Secretary of State John Steen announced today that photo identification will now be required when voting in Texas elections. His announcement follows today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed a bill passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011 to become law.

A voter will be required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location before the voter will be permitted to cast a vote:

•  Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety

•  Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety

•   Texas personal identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety

•   Texas concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety

•   United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph

•   United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph

•   United States passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented at the polling place.

Election identification certificates are now available only for voters who do not already have a required form of photo identification. There is no fee for the certificate.

Information on how to obtain an election identification certificate can be found at the Department of Public Safety's website, www.dps.texas.gov, or by calling the agency's main number (512) 424-2600. The IDs can only be used to vote, and are not acceptable forms of personal identification for other purposes.

In order to qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens and Texas residents and be eligible to vote in Texas. They must prove it by showing a valid voter registration card or submitting a voter registration application when applying for the card. Most documents will be valid for six years, though they do not expire for citizens 70 or older.

An accepted list of documents that prove citizenship can be found here, and proof of identity documents can be found here.

In the past, voters could vote by presenting their voter registration card. Registered voters without their voter registration card could present photo ID and be cross-checked against voter registration rosters by elections officials.

“My office is committed to making sure Texans have all the information they need to vote, including what forms of  identification they need now that photo ID requirements are in effect,” Steen said in a public statement.

More information is available at www.votetexas.gov.