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Election Advisory No. 2015-08

To: Election Officials
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Date: September 10, 2015
RE: DPS Web Portal

1. Summary and Purpose

1.1. In accordance with Texas Election Code Section 31.003, this directive is meant to insure that persons who registered at the Texas Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) in a timely manner will have their provisional ballots counted.

2. Qualifying the Voter

2.1  Our Office is updating the qualifying the voters handbook and the online poll worker training to include the following instruction:
If the provisional voter indicates they are registered, the election officer must ask the person if they registered at DPS. If person states they did register at DPS, the election officer must ask the person if the person knows the approximate date that the person went to DPS. The election officer must then note that the voter went to DPS and, if the person knows, the approximate date the person went to DPS, on the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelope in the “Other” line.

3. Activity of the Voter Registrar

3.1 The voter registrar must place the information the voter provided about attempting to register to vote at DPS along with the other information used by the portal provided by the voter on the provisional ballot envelope into the DPS web portal. The Texas Department of Public Safety will then research the information provided by the voter to determine whether the voter indicated their desire to register to voter and/or update their voter registration when registering with DPS in person or by mail. If the voter did so, then the voter’s registration is considered to be “submitted to the registrar” for purposes of Texas Election Code § 13.143, on the date DPS indicates the voter made that selection.

3.2  The voter registrar must then indicate on the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelope that the voter properly and timely completed a voter registration application and the voter should have appeared on the Official List of Registered Voters.  

4. Conclusion

4.1  As a reminder, the DPS web portal is available to use to check whether or not an individual attempted to register to vote when obtaining a Driver License or other ID. The DPS Web Portal System was created to allow the counties to submit inquiries and verify if an individual has registered to vote through DPS, when a voter registrar is not able to locate a copy of the record. Only these types of inquiries should be submitted through this Web Portal.

Other inquiries, such as attempting to clarify which TDL number should be used if the county has received more than one, should be directed to 701@dps.texas.gov. Please see the mini-manual for more information regarding the types of inquiries the email address will be able to respond to. If you have any questions regarding that process or this directive, please let us know right away. Thank you for your assistance and cooperation as we continue to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted.