If you, like us, are living in a garbage state—one that doesn’t think a global pandemic is a good enough reason to let you exercise your constitutional rights from the safety of your home—you might find yourself having to physically go to the polls. Making a plan to vote definitely increases the chances that you’ll actually do it, but the idea of going out to vote in these plague times can be really daunting. So, we’ve developed this handy “Voting Safely During COVID” checklist to help make the whole process a little bit easier.
This is an easy one, but when you’ve been locked inside your home for months, it can sometimes be hard to remember what all you need to put on your body in order to appropriately exist in public. So, while we’re on the subject: clothes.
- Hand Sanitizer/Gloves
A lot of polling places will have these available, but better safe than sorry! And while we’re talking about it, most places will also have floor markers and reduced numbers of voting machines to keep social distancing in place. But, that reduced number of machines does mean that wait times are going to be longer; so it’s always best to take advantage of early voting periods when you can.
- Valid ID
In Texas, you can use: Texas State Driver’s License; Texas State ID; Texas Election ID Certificate (available at DPS); Texas Handgun License; U.S. Military ID Card with Photo; U.S. Passport; or U.S. Citizenship Certificate with Photo.
If you don’t have any of the above, you can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. Print out this form and bring it with you; this can be used in conjunction with one of the following: Voter Registration Certificate; Birth Certificate; Utility Bill; Bank Statement; Government Check; Paycheck.
You CANNOT use a student ID, even if it is a photo ID.
- Voting Notes
Your phone has to be off inside the polling location, so make sure to do your research and prep a little guide for yourself!
You can check what’s going to be on your ballot here, so tailor your notes to your specific races! This is especially helpful during the primaries, when you can’t just down-ballot vote.
- A Desperate Continued Belief in Democracy
This is the one that might actually get you out the door. We all know that protests, demonstrations, riots, organizing, and generally being a continual pain in your state representatives’ asses are the things that actually create change in this country; but voting is important too! Even if states are purging perfectly eligible voters from the rolls, closing hundreds of polling locations, and enacting ever-stricter voter ID laws, we still have to get out and do it. Not everyone has the resources necessary to constantly harass their city councillors or to sit in at the Capitol building at noon on a Tuesday—voting in the evenings during early voting periods or taking one day per year off to go vote is the only option a lot of us have to participate in this democracy. So, y’know: we’ve gotta. It’s the final step in turning this damn hell state blue.
We have to acknowledge that there are definitely some major hurdles in place, but we’re living through unprecedented times! Your voice is necessary! And hopefully—with a little preparation—you can get out to vote safely and easily.