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Texplainer: Can I Register to Vote Online?

The Texas secretary of state's office doesn't allow online voter registration, because it requires a signature. But there are other simple ways to register to vote.

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Welcome to The Texas Tribune's "Texplainer" series, where we answer questions from readers like you. 

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Hey, Texplainer: Why can’t I register to vote online? How can I register instead?

The deadline to register to vote in Texas is Oct. 9, and there are many ways to register. But online isn’t one of them. That's because the secretary of state’s office requires a printed signature on a registration form to validate the registration, said spokeswoman Alicia Pierce.

What can eligible voters do instead?

Pick up postage-paid voter registration cards at many government buildings, including post offices and public libraries. Fill out the card and drop it in the mail to get it to a voter registrar’s office in time for an Oct. 9 postmark. Find a list of voter registrars by county here.

The form is also available online. Print out a PDF of the form on the secretary of state’s website or request a postage-paid version.

Anyone deputized by the state to register voters can take a registration form directly, so look for voter registration drives at schools, libraries and other places and give the form directly to a deputy voter registrar.

Voters who have moved since they last voted must follow the same process to submit a change-of-address request, unless the move was within the same county, in which case the change can be made online.

The bottom line: The secretary of state requires a physical signature on voter registration forms, so eligible voters can’t register online. But they can download or request registration forms online and then mail them in.

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