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Voter Registration in Texas Public Libraries

2017 September 26
by Katherine Adelberg

Today is National Voter Registration Day! Many Texas public libraries recently received the following notice from the Secretary of State’s Office Elections Division:

Chapter 20 of the Texas Election Code designates various state agencies, including public libraries, as voter registration agencies.  Specifically, Section 20.002(c) provides the following:

(c) Each public library, including any branch or other service outlet, is designated as a voter registration agency. In this chapter, “public library” means a library that:

  1. is regularly open for business for more than 30 hours a week;
  2. is operated by a single public agency or board;
  3. is open without charge to all persons under identical conditions; and
  4. receives its financial support wholly or partly from public funds.

If your library meets the above definition, then you are a designated voter registration agency and must provide to each person of voting age who applies in person for an original or renewal of a library card an opportunity to complete a voter registration application form, and may also be required to take various steps to ensure proper completion of the form by the applicant and submission of the form to the local voter registrar or to the SOS.

In order to facilitate this process, we have created a PowerPoint presentation, entitled “Implementing the National Voter Registration Act and Chapter 20 of the Texas Election Code,” which you may use to better educate yourself and your employees about the voter registration requirements for public libraries.

Note that each public library must use the official voter registration application form prescribed by the Secretary of State. Orders for pre-addressed voter registration applications must be made through the Secretary of State’s office using this order form.

If you have any questions about this procedure or the PowerPoint presentation, please don’t hesitate to email Louri O’Leary at lolearly@sos.texas.gov, Andria Perales at aperales@sos.texas.gov, or contact us by phone at 1-800-252-8683.

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