Texas Politics - Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
  1. Republican Dominance
  2. Looking Ahead
Types of Elections in Texas
  1. Getting on the Ballot
  2. Winning Public Office
Voting Requirements, Patterns
  1. Requirements
  2. Patterns
Voting and Non-voting
  1. Making a Difference?
  2. Why People Vote
Barriers to Voting
  1. Decision-making
  2. Information/Transaction Costs
  3. Historical Barriers
Two Parties and Voter Turnout
  1. Development
  2. Voters
Political Campaigns
  1. Rising Campaign Costs
  2. Regulating Contributions
  3. Impact of Money in Elections
Polling and Campaigns
Mobilization and Campaigns
  1. Endorsements
  2. Advertising
  3. Events and Speeches
  4. Grassroots Mobilization
10  Conclusion
  1. Print-friendly format
  2. Key words and phrases
  3. Multimedia resources
3.    Voting Requirements and Voting Patterns

Although as a legal matter it is relatively easy to qualify and register to vote in Texas, the actual pattern of voting in the state suggests significant barriers, and perhaps lack of sufficient incentive, to voting.

3.1    Formal Requirements for Voting

The requirements for voting in Texas are simple and few. First, you must be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old, and registered to vote. Also, you must be a resident of Texas for at least thirty days (thirty days is also the length of time before an election by which one must have registered in order to vote – see below).

For elections to the U.S. House of Representatives, state Legislature (House or Senate), and county or municipal government you must be a resident of those districts or jurisdictions for at least thirty days in order to vote in those elections. Additionally, you must not have been declared mentally incompetent and you cannot be a convicted felon whose sentence, probation, or parole has not been completed.

more info
The Secretary of State's website enables Texans to order a voter registration form from their county clerk. You'll still need to complete the card and mail it, but the postage is paid.
If you meet this short list of requirements, then you need only register to be eligible to vote. In recent years the registration process has been simplified. You merely fill out a small card that is available by request on the Internet and at many locations, including any location where you apply for or renew your driver's license. Once you send in your completed voter registration card, you are eligible to vote in the next election, as long this election is at least thirty days away and you have not changed addresses without reregistering. The Secretary of State's Web site contains a form you can fill out to receive a voter registration form from the county in which you want to register.

Texas Politics:
© 2006, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin