Voter registration 101: What to know before November
As students, it is easy to get caught up in our college bubbles and forget that there is a world outside our campus. Houston city elections are coming up and for the first time in eight years, the city will elect a new mayor among other officials.
Voting is one of the most important civic duties as adults in the U.S. In order to vote you need to be properly registered and know where and when to vote.
This article will walk you through the process of voter registration step by step.
In order to vote, you need to be able to meet certain eligibility requirements.
Firstly, you need to be a U.S. citizen and a resident of the county you wish to vote in, where you fill out your voter registration form.
Secondly, you need to be 18 in order to vote. While you are eligible to register two months before your birthday, you need to be 18 years old to cast your ballot.
Thirdly, you cannot be a convicted felon or be declared mentally incapacitated in a court of law
Out-of-state students will need to decide if they want to vote at their home precinct via an absentee ballot or vote at Harris County, for which they will need to re-register. It is important to note that it’s illegal to register in two states simultaneously.
How to register
To do anything in governmental bureaucracy, you need to find the right paperwork. Fortunately, as UH students, the University provides the proper paperwork and all you need to do is fill it out.
Thanks to the 1998 Higher Education Act, the University must make a “good faith effort” to distribute voter registration forms among students on campus.
UH has voter registration forms available at all residence hall information desks, the student centers and at the dean of students office, according to the University website.
After you have the form all you have to do is fill it out correctly and then turn it in at a nearby election office. Be warned, as failure to do so before the deadline can result in being turned away at the ballot box.
Make sure you are able to easily access documents such as your birth certificate and social security card to help fill out the necessary paperwork.
The nearest elections office to the University is at Palm Center located at 5300 Griggs Rd, according to the Harris County voter registration site, It’s important to note that the last day to register to vote in time for the city elections is Oct. 10.
While the process may look simple if you are unable to make it to the elections office in time to register due to time constraints or lack of transportation, keep an eye out for voter registration booths around campus.