In case you haven’t been watching television, browsing the internet or scrolling through social media, it is officially election season.
At the Marshall News Messenger, we know this a huge deal to our readers and it should be. Starting this week, we will be featuring profiles on local, county and state races. These will be published in our print editions and online on the ‘Election 2020’ page at marshallnewsmessenger.com. All these profiles will be published prior to the start of early voting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
We are opting not to publish information on national races, such as president, since this information is fairly easy to locate.
We have decided in an effort to maintain our impartiality as a news staff that we will not be endorsing any candidates this year. We will provide information but we will not be giving you advice on who to vote for. You are on your own.
In an effort to include our readers in an extremely busy election season, we will be accepting Letters to the Editors about candidates. Here are a few guidelines: Letters cannot be more than 400 words. They must contain your name, phone number and address. The phone number and address is for verification and will not be published in the newspaper. You may submit only two letters during the entire election season. Those submitting must live within a 30-mile radius, be a subscriber or have local ties. Letters must be in good taste (no mudslinging against candidates.) Email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also want to include some important information and frequently asked election questions for our readers from the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
When is the last day to register to vote?
How do I register to vote?
There are several options:
Complete an application using the SOS online voter registration application on votetexas.gov
- Simply fill in the required information, print, sign and mail directly to the county election office: Elections Administrator Loretta Mason, 110 S. Sycamore St., Room 100 Carthage, TX 75633
- Request a printed application from
- Their office will mail a voter registration application to the address you provide.
- Contact or visit your local vote registrar to complete the voter registration process. In Harrison County, this is at the Harrison County Elections Office, 415 E. Burleson St. in Carthage. They can be reached by phone at (903) 935-4822.
Am I eligible to vote?
You are eligible to register to vote if:
- You are a United States citizen;
- You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
- You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on Election Day.
- You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
- You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
People who are unsure if they are registered to vote can confirm registration on the Texas Secretary of State’s “Am I Registered?” site or can call the Harrison County Elections Office.
When can I vote in person?
Early voting takes place Oct. 13-30. Early voting has been extended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and anyone is eligible to vote in-person during early voting. In Harrison County, voters can cast their ballot at any polling location.
Election Day voting will take place Nov. 3 at individual precinct locations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters can find their precinct location on their voter registration card, and a full list of polling places and addresses will be printed in the News Messenger in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
If you need to vote by curbside, call (903) 935-4822 and the Harrison County Elections Office says it will be happy to help you do this. During early voting, a member of the Elections Office staff will come out and help you. On Election Day, a member of the Elections Office staff will contact the workers at your polling location and have them come out to you.
What do I need to vote?
Voters must have one of seven approved forms of photo ID at the polls. Voters who do not possess ID and cannot reasonably obtain one can execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form and provide a supporting form of identification.
The seven forms of approved photo ID are:
- Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (not required to be REAL ID license)
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
- Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
- United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
- United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
- United States Passport (book or card)
With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, which does not expire, the acceptable photo ID must be current or, for voters aged 18-69, have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place. A voter 70 years of age or older may use a form of acceptable photo ID listed above that has expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.
If a voter does not possess one of the forms of acceptable photo identification listed above, and the voter cannot reasonably obtain such identification, the voter may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form, which will be available at each polling location, and present a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of identification:
- a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate
- a current utility bill
- a bank statement
- a government check
- a paycheck
- a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate
- a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law, which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
The address on an acceptable form of photo identification or a supporting form of identification, if applicable, does not have to match the voter’s address on the list of registered voters.
Can I vote by mail?
To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:
- be 65 years or older;
- be disabled;
- be out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
- be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
How do I request a mail-in ballot?
Visit https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml and either print or submit an order online for the application for ballot by mail to be mailed to you, complete the steps and mail it to the county elections administrator.
For the Nov. 3, 2020 election date, the last day for the early voting clerk to receive applications for a ballot to be voted by mail is Oct. 23. All applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk before the close of regular business or noon, whichever is later.
The deadline to receive ballots mailed within the United States from non-military and military voters who submitted an application for ballot by mail is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, if the carrier envelope has a postmark showing it was in the mail by Nov. 3.