Law:Title 2. Voter Qualifications And Registration from Chapter 20. Voter Registration Agencies (Texas)

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Contents

Chapter 20. Voter Registration Agencies

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  20.001.  Designation Of Voter Registration Agencies.

(a) The following state agencies are designated as voter registration agencies:

(1)  Health and Human Services Commission;

(2)  Department of Aging and Disability Services;

(3)  Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services;

(4)  Department of State Health Services; and

(5)  any other agency or program as determined by the secretary of state that primarily provides:

(A)  public assistance; or

(B)  services to persons with disabilities.

(b)  The Department of Public Safety is designated as a voter registration agency.

(c)  Each public library, including any branch or other service outlet, is designated as a voter registration agency. In this chapter, "public library" means a library that:

(1)  is regularly open for business for more than 30 hours a week;

(2)  is operated by a single public agency or board;

(3)  is open without charge to all persons under identical conditions; and

(4)  receives its financial support wholly or partly from public funds.

(d)  Each marriage license office of the county clerk is designated as a voter registration agency.

(e)  The secretary of state shall designate other agencies or offices as voter registration agencies as necessary for compliance with federal law.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1090, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  20.002.  Agency-prescribed Registration Application Form.

Instead of using the official voter registration application form prescribed by the secretary of state, a voter registration agency may use an official form prescribed by the agency, if approved by the secretary of state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.003.  Official Declination Of Registration Form.

The officially prescribed form for a declination of a voter registration must include:

(1)  spaces for the person's signature and printed name and the date of signing;

(2)  the following question, followed by appropriate boxes preceding "YES" and "NO": "If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?";

(3)  if the agency provides public assistance, the statement: "Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency.";

(4)  the statement: "IF YOU HAVE NOT CHECKED EITHER BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME.";

(5)  the statement: "If you would like help filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.";

(6)  the statement: "If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote or with your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, you may file a complaint with the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State, P.O. Box 12060, Austin, Texas 78711.";

(7)  a statement that if the applicant declines to register to vote, that fact will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes;

(8)  a statement that if the applicant does register to vote, information regarding the agency or office to which the application is submitted will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes; and

(9)  a space for indicating that the applicant refused to sign the declination or kept the application to personally submit it to the voter registrar.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.004.  Agency Coordinator.

(a) A voter registration agency shall designate one or more persons to coordinate the agency's voter registration program. The agency shall notify the secretary of state of the name of each coordinator.

(b)  The registration coordinator shall conduct training for agency employees in voter registration procedures with the assistance of the secretary of state.

(c)  The agency shall submit to the secretary of state a plan to implement voter registration procedures under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.005.  Degree Of Assistance.

A voter registration agency shall provide the same degree of assistance, including any necessary bilingual assistance, to a person in completing a voter registration form as is provided to a person in completing the agency's forms, unless the assistance is refused.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.006.  Determination Of Eligibility.

(a) An employee of a voter registration agency may not make a determination about a person's eligibility for registration other than a determination of whether the person is of voting age or is a United States citizen.

(b)  A person's age or citizenship may be determined by the employee only if the age or citizenship can be readily determined from information filed with the agency by the person for purposes other than voter registration.

(c)  A person shall be offered voter registration assistance as provided by this chapter even if the person's age or citizenship cannot be determined.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.007.  Prohibited Acts.

An employee of a voter registration agency may not:

(1)  seek to influence an applicant's political party preference;

(2)  display any political party preference or allegiance; or

(3)  make any statement or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to:

(A)  discourage the applicant from registering to vote; or

(B)  lead the applicant to believe that a decision of whether to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.008.  Assistance By Secretary Of State Or Registrar.

If a question arises concerning voter registration that an agency employee cannot answer, the employee shall provide the person:

(1)  the toll-free telephone number of the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State; and

(2)  the telephone number of the voter registrar to whom registration applications are submitted.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.009.  Additional Procedures.

The secretary of state shall prescribe any additional procedures necessary for the orderly and proper administration of voter registration procedures under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter B. Registration Assistance Generally

Section  20.031.  Form Provided.

A voter registration agency shall provide a voter registration application form to each person who is of voting age and a United States citizen in connection with the person's application for initial services, and also in connection with any recertification, renewal, or change of address, unless the person declines in writing to register to vote.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.032.  Registration Procedures.

(a) An appropriate agency employee shall routinely inform each person who applies in person for agency services of the opportunity to complete a voter registration application form and on request shall provide nonpartisan voter registration assistance to the applicant.

(b)  An agency that provides services at a person's residence shall provide the opportunity to complete the form and the assistance under Subsection (a) at the residence.

(c)  On receipt of a registration application, the appropriate agency employee shall review it for completeness in the applicant's presence. If the application does not contain all the required information and the required signature, the agency employee shall return the application to the applicant for completion and resubmission.

(d)  Information regarding the agency or office to which an application is submitted is confidential and may be used only for voter registration purposes.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.033.  Effect Of Submission Of Application To Employee.

The date of submission of a completed registration application to the agency employee is considered to be the date of submission to the voter registrar for the purpose of determining the effective date of registration only.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.034.  Submission To Registrar By Applicant.

(a) The applicant may keep the registration application form or the completed application to submit the application personally to the voter registrar.

(b)  The agency employee shall enter on the declination of registration form a notation that after being given the opportunity to register, the applicant kept the application or application form for personal submission of the application to the registrar.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.035.  Delivery Of Applications To Registrar.

(a) The agency shall deliver to the voter registrar of the county in which the agency office is located each completed registration application submitted to an agency employee.

(b)  An application shall be delivered to the registrar not later than the fifth day after the date the application is submitted to the employee.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.036.  Declination Of Registration.

(a) If the applicant does not wish to complete a voter registration application form, the agency employee shall request that the applicant complete and sign an official declination of registration form unless the employee determines that the applicant has previously completed and signed the form.

(b)  If the applicant refuses to sign the declination form, the agency employee shall enter on the form a notation of that fact.

(c)  The agency shall preserve each declination for at least 22 months after the date of signing. The declination may be retained in the applicant's file at the agency or in a separate declination file.

(d)  A declination is confidential and may be used only for voter registration purposes.

(e)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the procedures necessary to eliminate the filing of multiple declinations by an applicant.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.037.  Telephone Or Mail Services.

(a) A voter registration agency that allows a person to apply for services by mail shall deliver to an applicant by mail a voter registration application form on the approval of services for the applicant.

(b)  An agency shall deliver to an applicant by mail a voter registration application form if:

(1)  the agency automatically notifies an applicant to renew or recertify a service by mailing a form to the applicant; or

(2)  the applicant requests services by telephone and the agency provides services in that manner.

(c)  An application form delivered by mail must be accompanied by a notice informing the applicant that the application may be submitted in person or by mail to the voter registrar of the county in which the applicant resides or in person to a volunteer deputy registrar for delivery to the voter registrar of the county in which the applicant resides.

(d)  The agency may maintain a written record indicating that a registration application was delivered to an applicant.

(e)  The agency is not required to deliver a declination of registration form under this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter C. Department Of Public Safety

Section  20.061.  Applicability Of Other Provisions.

The other provisions of this chapter apply to the Department of Public Safety except provisions that conflict with this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.062.  Department Forms And Procedure.

(a) The Department of Public Safety shall prescribe and use a form and procedure that combines the department's application form for a license or card with an officially prescribed voter registration application form.

(b)  The department shall prescribe and use a change of address form and procedure that combines department and voter registration functions. The form must allow a licensee or cardholder to indicate whether the change of address is also to be used for voter registration purposes.

(c)  The design, content, and physical characteristics of the department forms must be approved by the secretary of state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.063.  Registration Procedures.

(a) The Department of Public Safety shall provide to each person who applies in person at the department's offices for an original or renewal of a driver's license, a personal identification card, or a duplicate or corrected license or card an opportunity to complete a voter registration application form.

(b)  When the department processes a license or card for renewal by mail, the department shall deliver to the applicant by mail a voter registration application form.

(c)  A change of address that relates to a license or card and that is submitted to the department in person or by mail serves as a change of address for voter registration unless the licensee or cardholder indicates that the change is not for voter registration purposes. The date of submission of a change of address to a department employee is considered to be the date of submission to the voter registrar for the purpose of determining the effective date of registration only.

(d)  If a completed voter registration application submitted to a department employee does not include the applicant's correct driver's license number or personal identification card number, a department employee shall enter the appropriate information on the application. If a completed application does not include the applicant's correct residence address or mailing address, a department employee shall obtain the appropriate information from the applicant and enter the information on the application.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 454, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  20.064.  Declination Form Not Required.

The Department of Public Safety is not required to comply with the procedures prescribed by this chapter relating to the form for a declination of voter registration.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.065.  Delivery Of Applications And Changes Of Address.

(a) At the end of each day a Department of Public Safety office is regularly open for business, the manager of the office shall deliver by mail or in person to the voter registrar of the county in which the office is located each completed voter registration application and applicable change of address submitted to a department employee.

(b)  Each weekday the department is regularly open for business, the department shall electronically transfer to the secretary of state the name of each person who completes a voter registration application submitted to the department.  The secretary shall prescribe procedures necessary to implement this subsection.

(c)  On the weekday the secretary of state is regularly open for business following the date the secretary receives information under Subsection (b), the secretary shall inform the appropriate voter registrar of the name of each person who completes a voter registration application submitted to the department.  The registrar may verify that the registrar has received each application as indicated by the information provided by the secretary under this subsection.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1178, Sec. 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1105, Sec. 8, eff. January 1, 2006.



Section 20.066.  Registration Procedures.

(a) If a person completes a voter registration application as provided by Section 20.063, the Department of Public Safety shall:

(1)  input the information provided on the application into the department's electronic data system; and

(2)  inform the applicant that the applicant's electronic signature provided to the department will be used for submitting the applicant's voter registration application.

(b)  Not later than the fifth day after the date a person completes a voter registration application and provides an electronic signature to the department, the department shall electronically transfer the applicant's voter registration data, including the applicant's signature, to the secretary of state.

(c)  The secretary of state shall prescribe additional procedures as necessary to implement this section.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1136, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1105, Sec. 9, eff. January 1, 2006.



Subchapter D. Public Library

Section  20.091.  Applicability Of Other Provisions.

The other provisions of this chapter apply to a public library except provisions that conflict with this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.092.  Registration Procedure.

(a) A public library shall provide to each person of voting age who applies in person for an original or renewal of a library card an opportunity to complete a voter registration application form.

(b)  A public library shall use the official form prescribed by the secretary of state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.093.  Declination Form Not Required.

A public library is not required to comply with the procedures prescribed by this chapter relating to the form for a declination of voter registration.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter E. Marriage License Office

Section  20.121.  Applicability Of Other Provisions.

The other provisions of this chapter do not apply to a marriage license office of the county clerk unless expressly provided otherwise by the other provision or by rule of the secretary of state.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.122.  Registration Procedures.

(a) When an original marriage license is returned to the licensees after being recorded, the county clerk shall also deliver to the licensees by mail two voter registration application forms.

(b)  The county clerk shall use the official form prescribed by the secretary of state.

(c)  The application forms must be accompanied by a notice informing the licensees that the applications may be submitted in person or by mail to the voter registrar of the county in which they reside or in person to a volunteer deputy registrar for delivery to the voter registrar of the county in which they reside.

(d)  The county clerk may maintain a written record indicating that a registration application was delivered to a licensee.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  20.123.  Declination Form Not Required.

The county clerk is not required to comply with the procedures prescribed by this chapter relating to the form for a declination of voter registration.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 33, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


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