Don’t do these 7 things at your polling place Tuesday
While plenty of time is devoted to encouraging Texans to get to the polls, there is lesser attention spent talking about voter etiquette.
Some of the items on this list might seem like common sense, but have happened so often that the Texas Legislature has passed laws to keep them from happening.
Here’s what NOT to do at the polls on Tuesday:
DON’T BRING YOUR GUN
Even with the passage of open carry laws in the Lone Star State, Texas Penal Code prohibits voters from bringing their firearms into their polling place. The only exemption is if you are a police officer, regardless of whether you are on or off duty.
DON’T TAKE A SELFIE OR PHOTO OF YOUR BALLOT
In Texas, cell phones and other devices are banned for use within 100 feet of voting stations. Make sure to turn off all your electronic devices before you go in to vote or leave them in your car. This includes:
- Cell phones
- Laptop computers
- Sound recorders
DON’T WEAR CAMPAIGN T-SHIRTS
Buttons, T-shirts and other swag with your favorite candidate’s name or political party is not only a big no-no when you go to vote, it’s actually a crime. A violation of this provision of the Texas Election Code is a Class C misdemeanor!
DON’T TRY TO INFLUENCE THE VOTE
Under the same provision, it is a violation to participate in any electioneering activities short of the 100-foot distance markers posted outside the polling place. This means handing out literature, posting signs, and expressing preference for or against any candidate, measure or political party.
DON’T FORGET YOUR VOTER ID
In Texas, you must present identification in order to vote, so don’t get caught without it! The following ID types are acceptable at the polls:
- Texas driver license
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas election identification certificate issued by DPS
- Texas handgun license issued by DPS
- U.S. military ID card with photograph
- U.S. passport
- U.S. citizenship certificate containing your photo
DON’T HANG AROUND AFTER YOUR VOTE IS CAST
While non-disruptive exit polling is permitted within the 100-foot boundary, election judges have the power to determine whether someone is in violation of the Texas Penal Code’s provisions on loitering and breaching the peace.
DON’T CIRCULATE PETITIONS FOR YOUR PET CAUSES
You might be tempted to use the flow of voters coming out of your polling place to benefit a cause or candidate in a future election, but you might be found in violation of the election code’s loitering provision if you are too close. If you do try to get petition signatures, make sure you are beyond the 100-foot distance markers.