The Nov. 3, 2020 General Election seems weeks away, but the cycle has already started, and many who are new to North Texas may not be familiar with how it all works. So, let’s start with the first step.
Getting registered to vote
To vote in the General Election, you must be registered by Oct. 5. If you have moved since the last election (2018), you probably need to re-register. Even if you just moved into your neighborhood from across town, you likely are in another voter precinct. And if you moved here from another town or state, then you definitely need to register to vote.
We don’t register by political party here in Texas; you simply register as a voter and then affiliate with a political party by voting in that party’s primary election, normally in March of odd numbered years. Obviously, in the General Election, people who did not vote in any primary are still able to vote for candidates from either party.
The post office has voter registration cards that you can fill in and mail, or you may go to VoteTexas.gov for a voter application.
When, where to vote
While the election date itself is Nov. 3, registered Texas voters also may vote early between Oct. 13 and Oct. 30. During early voting, you may vote at any of the nearly 50 polling sites in Denton County, so there is sure to be one near your work or home.
However, on Election Day, you must vote in the location assigned to your voter precinct. To find a list of all Early Voting and Election Day polling sites, go to VoteDenton.com. This informative site also has information on voting by mail (who may do so, how to obtain your mail ballot, when it’s due, etc.)
Voting process – new twists
As usual, you will need to show a photo id to vote, such as a Texas drivers’ license. Denton County uses a voting system, known as “ballot on demand,” so after checking in, you will receive a ballot printed just for you containing all the races in which you may vote.
This year, a new twist: there will be no straight party one-punch voting. You still may vote a straight party ticket, but you will need to select the candidate for that party in each race and vote for him/her. This process takes longer, but is still only a matter of a few minutes in the voting booth.
Another new twist is that this election, due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, municipal elections were postponed until General Election dates, Nov. 3 and its accompanying early voting dates. So, if your municipality is having a council or school board election, those races also will appear on the bottom of your ballot. They will not be identified by political party, as these races are non-partisan, so please do your homework ahead of time to educate yourself about these important council or school board candidates.
All the above information is available from this website: google.com/search?q=Denton%20County%20voters%20guide
So, yes, your vote is important, and it does count – don’t waste it by not using it.
Dianne Edmondson is Denton County commissioner for Precinct 4.