Texas Secretary of State launches statewide voter education campaign

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Secretary of State announced a new initiative Monday to get Texas voters prepared to cast their ballots during early voting — or on Super Tuesday, in less than two weeks.

“Ready. Check. Vote.” is an interactive campaign designed to help educate voters on what to bring to polling sites, particularly covering what counts as a valid photo ID.

Texas is one of 19 states that ask voters for photo ID at polling locations.

RELATED: What you need, where you can go for early voting in 2020

The campaign’s booth will include bilingual voting representatives from the Secretary of State’s office, handouts and stickers, and a memory game where players try and match up types of eligible photo ID. The Texas Legislature budgeted $4 million for the effort according to the Office of the Texas Secretary of State.

“The legislature has directed our office to reach out to voters across Texas to educate them about the state voter identification requirements,” Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs said at a press conference on Monday.

The initiative launched in San Antonio last weekend and plans to be at Sombrero Fest in Brownsville and Borderfest in Hildalgo leading up to Super Tuesday.

“A critical component of this initiative is bringing the campaign directly to Texans in their home communities,” Hughs added.

The interactive campaign will emphasize the seven types of approved photo ID and allow voters to ask questions about the process. Hughs said the campaign will be going to more locations throughout the state after the March primaries.

“We really are prioritizing all regions of the state to make sure that the right form of ID is taken to the polls so that no one is turned away,” Hughs said.

Along with physical booths at festivals and other large gatherings, Hughs said the campaign will be purchasing billboard, radio and social media advertisements to educate as many voters as possible about voting requirements.

Approved types of photo ID include:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC) issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) issued by DPS
  • U.S. Military ID Card containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. Passport

Voters unable to obtain eligible photo ID can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form, which is available at polling locations, and attach an alternate form of identification such as:

  • Government document showing voter’s name, address and voter registration certificate
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Birth certificate from a U.S. state or territory

As of Feb. 23, 4.6% of eligible Texas voters had participated in early voting, which is a higher number than at the same time in 2016, according to the latest date from the Secretary of State’s Office.

During the last general election year in 2016, which saw an average nationwide voter turnout rate of 60.2%, Texas ranked nearly last nationally with an average eligible voter turnout rate of 51.6%.

RELATED: Texas’ early voter turnout expected to surpass early results from 2016 Presidential Primary

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