Last day to register to vote is Oct. 4; constitutional amendments, local alcohol proposition on ballot

Texas Tribune and Empire-Tribune staff

There's a statewide election on Nov. 2, but it’s one without any statewide candidates.

Instead, the election will feature eight statewide constitutional amendments that address topics ranging from religious freedom to taxes to judicial eligibility. 

The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 4.

In Erath County, in addition to the constitutional amendment election, there is a Special Local Option Liquor Election. 

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 4. The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Oct. 22. Early voting in the state runs Oct. 18-29.

According to previous Empire-Tribune reports, an effort to gather more than 4,400 signatures to call an alcohol election in Erath County was deemed a success by a local group of business owners when the petition was submitted to the County Clerk in June, and the Erath County Commissioners Court ordered an election for the proposition.

According to information from Texas Petition Strategies, the proposition to be submitted to voters would create one set of rules throughout the county supporting alcohol sales in area establishments. A group of local business owners and community leaders also supports expansion of current sales to include fine wine and package stores.

The group is proposing a change in regulations to remove a private club requirement on restaurants, officials with Texas Petition Strategies said. 

Currently, in order to sell alcohol, restaurants are required to operate as a private club, which can become costly according to the Texas Restaurant Association. 

“According to the Texas Restaurant Association, it can cost between $3,000 to $20,000 a year to be a private club," Court Cole, owner of Bull Nettle Bar & Grill, said previously.

State law required the group to gather 4,409 signatures of Erath County voters by June 4. The group submitted nearly 7,000 signatures with 4,802 being verified by the Erath County Clerk's office. Only residents of Erath County were eligible to sign the petition. 

Changing the county’s dry status for spirits (package liquor sales) and removing the private club rules for on-premise establishments could mean a nearly 40% increase in alcohol-related tax revenue, proposition supporters said.

How can I register to vote?

Texans need to fill out a voter registration application at least 30 days before the election. You can request the application through the mail or find one at county voter registrars' offices, post offices, government offices or high schools. While you can't register online to vote in Texas unless you’re updating your driver’s license, you can print out the online application and mail it to the voter registrar in your county. Applications have to be postmarked by the Oct. 4 deadline.

How can I register to vote by mail? 

To be eligible to vote by mail in Texas, you must be:

• 65 years or older

• Sick or disabled

• Out of the county during the early voting period and Election Day

• In jail but eligible to vote

You can print a form at webservices.sos.state.tx.us/forms/5-15f.pdf or request one to be mailed to you at bbm.sos.state.tx.us/bbm.asp. Once the form is filled out, you will need to address and mail it to the early voting clerk in your county or fax the form if that option is available in the early voting clerk’s office. You also have the option of submitting a scanned copy of the completed and signed application to the early voting clerk via email, according to the Texas secretary of state's office. You can look up the early voting clerk in your county at www.co.erath.tx.us/186/Current-Elections

If the form is faxed or emailed, then the hard copy of the application must be mailed and received by the early voting clerk no later than the fourth business day.

Is there a way to confirm whether I'm registered to vote?

The Texas secretary of state's website will tell you whether you're registered if you log in using one of these three ways:

• Providing your Texas driver's license number and date of birth

• Providing your first and last names, date of birth and what county you reside in

• Providing your date of birth and Voter Unique Identifier, which appears on your voter registration certificate

Check online to see if you are registered to vote at teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

Where am I allowed to vote early?

Voters could cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote. You can find voting locations on the Texas secretary of state's website.

Who is eligible to vote early?

Anyone registered to vote may vote early, but they must do it in person unless they qualify to vote by mail.

Are polling locations the same on Election Day as they are during early voting?

Not always. Before heading out to cast your ballot, it's recommended that you check the open polling locations in your area. In some counties, Election Day voting may be restricted to sites in your designated precinct.

Erath County voting locations

– Early voting

• Monday-Friday, Oct.18-22 and 25-29; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Erath County Courthouse, 100 W. Washington St., Stephenville.

• Sunday, Oct. 24: noon to 4 p.m.; Erath County Courthouse, 100 W. Washington St., Stephenville.

– Election Day: Nov. 2, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Erath County Courthouse, 100 W. Washington St., Stephenville

• Texas Bank, 988 Wolfe Nursery Road, Stephenville

• Dublin County Annex, 219 Grafton, Dublin

• Texas AgriLife, 1229 N. U.S. 281, Stephenville.