Student Voter Guide for Texas’s 2020 Presidential Primary Election

This guide will help you participate in Texas’s March 3 presidential primary, in which you can help choose America’s presidential nominees.

Voter registration in Texas is nonpartisan; you do not select a political party. You select the ballot for a specific political party when you vote in the Texas presidential primary. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have agreed to participate.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Primary election date: March 3, 2020, 7 AM to 7 PM
  • Last day to register: February 3
  • Early voting begins: February 18
  • Early voting ends: February 28
  • Last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot (application received): February 21
  • Deadline for vote-by-mail ballot to be received: March 3 at 7 PM

Why this primary matters

You have a chance to determine the presidential nominees for one of the two major political parties. As part of Super Tuesday, the Texas primary plays an important role. Democratic Party delegates are allotted proportionately to all candidates who achieve a 15% threshold. Republican Party delegates are allotted proportionately for candidates who attain a 20% threshold, with Winner Take All for any candidate who exceeds 50%.

Candidate information

For Republican and Democratic presidential candidate websites, CNN has a complete list. Politico also has a quick guide to Democratic candidate positions.

Eligibility

You are eligible to vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen
  • A resident of the county where you submit your application
  • At least 17 and 10 months old (to register), and will be 18 on the day of the election you vote in.
  • Not a convicted felon (you may be eligible if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole)
  • Have not been declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law

How to register to vote

You can register in person at your county voter registrar’s office. You can also register by mail by picking up a registration form at your county registrar’s office, or at libraries, government offices, or high schools. You may fill out voter registration application online and then you will need to print it. Once you’re completed the application form, you must sign it and mail to your county registrar.

ID Requirements for registering

To register, you will need one of the following:

  • A Texas driver’s license number
  • A personal identification number issued by the Department of Public Safety
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

ID Requirements for voting

To vote in person, you will need one of the following:

  • Texas driver’s license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by Dept. of Public Safety
  • Texas Personal ID Card or Handgun License issued by DPS
  • S Military ID card, with photo
  • S. Passport or card, or U.S. Citizen Certificate, with photo ID

Since student ID’s do not qualify, if you don’t have an acceptable photo ID, here’s how to secure a Texas Personal ID Card or Election Identification Certificate, which you can secure at DPS offices. The Required Identification page lists other valid forms of supporting ID.  If you cannot obtain these, you can sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and bring one of the other kinds of ID listed in the Declaration form—a copy or original of a certified birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or any other government document showing the voter’s name and address.

Early and Absentee voting

Any registered voter can vote at an early voting location in their county of residence. (Find your early voting locations. You can also find early voting locations through your early voting clerk, and in many local newspapers.)

To vote by mail (absentee), you need to be one of the following:

  • Away from your county on March 3 and during early voting
  • Sick or disabled
  • At least 65 years old
  • Confined in jail, but eligible to vote

If you fill any of these conditions, you may obtain an application from your early voting clerk (listed by county under the heading “Election Duties”), or online (Spanish language version). Complete the form and return it to your early voting clerk. 

Address to use for registering and voting

Per federal election law, college students can register and vote at either their campus address or their permanent home address, which may be out of state. However, voters can only be registered at one address. If you are not going to physically be in the state where you plan to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot.

It’s your choice where to register. Registering at your campus address will not:

  • Affect your federal financial aid
  • Prevent your parents from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Cost you any scholarships, unless they’re tied to specific residency requirements
  • Affect your in-state or out-of-state tuition status.

Key Resources