Confused about who qualifies for free voter ID? -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Confused about who qualifies for free voter ID?

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Local officials are hoping for a better turnout tomorrow at mobile registration stations for voter IDs.

Wednesday was the first day of mobile registrations in Tyler, with four stations in the city. But as of Wednesday morning, DPS had not received any applications for the free form of voter ID in the area.

At all four locations, most visitors were confused about what exactly the new rules mean for them on election day.

Most people arrived thinking they needed the ID, but after consultation, realized they already have qualifying forms of identification to vote.

Reba Caraway was one of the only visitors who actually qualified to register for the election identification certificate.

"Voting is very important to me," she said. "I don't have a driver's license, so I came here to get [voter ID]."

But Caraway forgot her birth certificate, which meant she had to pay a visit to the Vital Records office before returning to get the free ID.

Virtually all foot traffic at all four locations comprised of voters who did not realize they neither need nor qualify for the free certificate.

"Look to see what documents you need prior to coming," DPS Trooper Jean Dark said. "Understand that if you have already had a Texas drivers license or identification card, you may not be eligible for this free identification card."

Put simply, if you already have the following forms of ID, you do not need the certificate to vote: unexpired Texas drivers license or state ID

  • U.S. Passport
  • Texas concealed handgun license
  • U.S. military ID with photo
  • U.S. citizenship certificate

If you do not have any of those forms of identification, you will still need a birth certificate and voter registration card to obtain the free voter ID, which does not qualify as identification for anything other than voting purposes.

"We're encouraging people to come on down; if you don't know whether you have it or not, just come and ask the question and get your question answered," Smith County Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton said.

Even with the confusion, Caraway said it is something that needs to be done.

"There are people that try to vote who are not eligible to vote and I think that it's good that we do this," she said.

DPS did not have immediately available the number of people who signed up for the free IDs in Tyler today.

Statewide, DPS said they have issued only 41 of the IDs so far. They add that they have also had approximately 930 inquiries about the program.

The mobile registration stations will be in Tyler again on Thursday. They will then move to Longview on Friday and Monday. You can find those locations at the website.

Voters planning on submitting an absentee ballot do not need any form of photo ID to cast their vote.

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