Voting day is Tuesday, November 4, which despite its lack of a presidential contest, has some big races, notably for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. senator. There are also less-prominent but no less worthy races for judges, state senators and state representatives.
For Dallas residents, there are also nine propositions calling for changes in the city government. Those include Proposition 8, which would give raises to the mayor and city council members, and Proposition 6, which suggests more transparency in the council's redistricting process. The Dallas Morning News makes a list of all nine, with their recommendations on how to vote.
In a nutshell, they say "vote yes" to all nine, but of course you'll want to pore through them carefully anyway.
The big thing this voting day is the execution of the voter ID law. The law has already created confusion for lots of voters whose names on their driver's licenses and other basic modes of identification do not exactly match the name under which they were registered. And some voters have already complained that county and state employees do not know how to process the law properly.
Suffice it to say that you'll probably want to bring as many forms of ID as you can carry, from the following list of possibilities:
- Texas driver's license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
- United States military identification card containing your photograph
- United States citizenship certificate containing your photograph
- United States passport
It really is priceless that a handgun license is a viable form of identification.
Items that were previously accepted as proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or a utility bill, are no longer allowed because they have no photo. And even some IDs with photos, such as student IDs, are not approved.
Thanks to an amendment by State Sen. Wendy Davis, if you get to your polling location and find that your name on your photo ID does not match exactly, but is "substantially similar," i.e., Bill for William, you will be allowed to vote after you initial a small box next to your name, called an affidavit.
Isn't that Wendy Davis something? By the way, she's running for governor.
Voter information websites
There are many websites that offer information on voting. The big one is Dallas County Votes, where you can find a list of common questions as well as locations and other information. You can also look up your precinct, which tells you where to vote, and gives you the chance to see what your ballot will look like, based on your address.
The League of Women Voters always has practical voting advice, with their own versions of ballots and lists. They also provide numbers to call if you need a ride to the polls: For Democrats, it's 214-821-8331. For Republicans, it's 214-369-9555.
SOS.State.TX has an excellent spreadsheet that lists all the candidates side by side. It's easier to read than a list, and when you run your cursor over it, each row gets a handy pale blue highlight.
The spreadsheet lets you quickly spot who has nicknames such as David "Rocky" Palmquist, running for commissioner of agriculture, and Richard "Chip" Peterson running for representative in District 19. You gotta wonder: Did Patricia "Pat" Hardy, running for board of education in District 11, really feel it necessary to call out that "Pat"?
The DMN also has a list of all the races, although they require many clicks.
Some people, overwhelmed by the choices, choose a straight-party ticket between Democrats and Republicans.
For information of a Democratic nature, go to DallasDemocrats.org, which shares a list of voting myths debunking any of the reasons you might feel you cannot vote. For information of a Republican nature, go to DallasGOP, which has a bald eagle and a "donate" button up top.
Polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm.