The Tax Office Voter Registration Department is mailing approximately 76,600 voter certificates to active registrants this week. The mass mailing of voter certificates has been delayed this year due to the dispute over finalizing the State’s redistricting plans. However, the final adjustments to Brazos County voting precincts and districts resulting from population growth and redistricting have finally been received, approved and completed. Voters should examine their new cards for errors, but should also check to see if their voting precinct has been changed to accommodate the redistricting mandate. Additional district changes can include State Representative, Commissioner precinct, Justice of the Peace precinct, and single member districts for BISD and the City of Bryan.
The new certificates are yellow and white and will be valid for the two year period of January 2012 through December 2013. This bi-annual mailing has a two-fold purpose. It replaces the expired blue and white voter certificates, and identifies voters that may have moved in the previous two years without providing a change of address to the Voter Registrar.
Not all voters will have cards mailed to them. Many voter records have been placed in “suspense” due to information received that indicate the voter is no longer at the location listed in the official records. When this type of information is received, the voter registration staff will place a voter on “suspense” and send a request to that voter to “confirm” their information.
The Brazos County Voter Registration Department currently has approximately 9,700 voters on suspense. This bi-annual mailing of certificates is expected to increase that number by an estimated 10,000. Under State Law, voter registration certificates cannot be forwarded to a new address by the postal service. Once the certificate is returned to the Voter Registrar by the Post Office, an address confirmation is sent to the voter. Failure to return the address confirmation form can result in eventual removal from the voter rolls.
Voters should check the new certificate closely for accuracy, sign it and keep it in a secure place. If an error is found, corrections can be made by listing the change on the back of the certificate, signing the card, then returning it to the Voter Registrar at the address on the front of the certificate. All changes and corrections to a voter registration record must be submitted in writing. Changes cannot be made over the telephone.
Registered voters who do not receive a voter card in the mail by April 20, 2012, should contact the Voter Registration Department of the Tax Office at 979-361-4470. Corrections to their records must be made at least 30 days prior to the Primary election to assure their ability to vote in that election. The last day to register to vote or make changes to a voter’s records for the May 29 primary election is April 30.