Students who struggle with registration offered use of limited ballot

Lauren Grobe

Students who are registered to vote outside of Travis County can vote using a limited ballot — which contains only common races between counties — during the early voting period. 

Public relations freshman Julia Tucker was originally registered in Dallas County but failed to change her residence and missed the Texas voter registration deadline. Tucker was directed to the limited ballot.

“I actually have to go to the Elections Division office (to vote),” Tucker said. “I have to go there and get it solved in person.”

Limited ballots allow voters registered in a county different from their current residence to vote after the registration deadline has passed. After filling out an application, the voter will receive a ballot with the races they are eligible to vote for. Once the voter turns in the ballot, they are recommended to their residence’s voter registrar to get registered in the new county they reside in. Their previous registration is canceled, and their new registration then
gets processed.

Government professor Tasha Philpot said a limited ballot doesn’t always guarantee a vote.

“It allows you to have a ballot on record, but it won’t be counted if they can’t verify your registration,” Philpot said.

History freshman Sam Thielman was also unable to register to vote in Travis County. He said he was not sure what to do about his situation, because there was a lack of information regarding his voting options.

“There wasn’t available information that I saw,” Thielman said.

Philpot said there are many resources for students to figure out their voting options, such as student deputy registrars and political parties who come to campus.

“It’s a matter of students wanting to utilize that,” Philpot said.

Thielman said while the obstacles to registration were annoying, he doesn’t blame the registration process.

“I realize that it’s going by mail, so I understand part of the reason for the delay,” Thielman said. “The fact I didn’t hear back for a couple of weeks is irritating.”

Despite the challenges they faced in getting registered to vote in Travis County, both students said they are optimistic that they will be able to vote in the current midterm elections with the limited ballot.

“This is the first election I’ll be able to vote in and it’s a really important one,” Tucker said. “I want to take part in that.”