Plan ahead for smart voting

Along with jury duty and paying taxes, voting is one of a U.S. citizen’s few civic duties. Those who plan to vote in the midterm elections can start preparing now.

The deadline for voter registration in the fall election is Oct. 9. Early voting will take place Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.  Election Day is Nov. 6.

Eligible voters can register on the Dallas County website at www.dallascountyvotes.org/voter-information/register-to-vote/

Voters can check their status at www.dallascountyvotes.org/voter-lookup/

The voting process is a combination of the election, the candidates and numerous initiatives on the ballot. Voting early can save time for Dallas County residents.

People can vote at any early polling place in the county, including the gymnasium at Richland. Those who wait until Election Day must vote at their precinct location.

Midterm elections have historically low participation rates and precinct locations may be consolidated on Election Day. Voters need to confirm their polling place in advance at their precinct location for convenience.

Early voting locations, on the other hand, are plentiful and less likely to change.

The midterm ballot includes statewide races for seats in the Texas Legislature and the gubernatorial election.

Balloting for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives take place every two years, U.S. Senate seats every six years.

This year, Texas voters will have the chance to vote for both a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator.

A sample ballot is available prior to the election on many county voting websites. In Dallas, information is available at www.dallascountyvotes.org/voter-information/

A government-issued photo ID is now required to vote. A driver’s license or passport is an acceptable form of identification.

While many people take their voter registration card with them to the polls, and in some limited circumstances this might be helpful, it is no longer necessary.  Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.