June 29, 2020
There is a new way to encourage and remind Texans to register and vote: A specialty license plate from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that debuted this month.
The creation of the Register to Vote specialty plate was driven by Travis County’s Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant and championed by state Rep. Gina Hinojosa in the 86th Texas Legislature Session.
“The Register to Vote license plate is just one more approach to our all-hands-on-deck effort to get everyone registered in time for November and beyond,” said Hinojosa, a civil rights attorney and former Austin Independent School Board president.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis County registered almost 94 percent of eligible voters and trained more than 4,000 county residents on how to register voters.
“When the virus hit, our civic army of volunteer deputy registrars were benched,” Elfant said. “They just are not able to hold the numerous voter registration drives that are typical for us during any election cycle, but especially in a Presidential Election year.”
Now, Elfant added, volunteer deputy registrars can buy the Register to Vote plate to display on their vehicles. “Any Texan who cares about promoting voter registration and voting can spread the word on the streets while keeping themselves safe from COVID-19 exposure,” Elfant said.
The Register to Vote plate costs $30 with $22 of that fee going to the Texas Secretary of State to promote student education of voter registration and voting, including a statewide 2020 Mock Presidential Election for schools. Order it in the specialty license plate section on www.TxDMV;gov.gov.
Specialty license plates must be picked up at the Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd. Customers can use the drive-thru lanes or book an appointment on the tax office’s website, www.TravisCountyTax.org.
Customers need a government-issued, photo identification, such as a driver’s license, passport or military identification, and their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or current license plate number.
The specialty license plate and registration sticker expiration date must be “synced” so future registration renewal notices allow vehicle owners to pay their annual license plate and sticker renewal fees at the same time. To achieve this, the tax office will calculate a pro-rated registration fee that the customer pays when the plate is picked up.
Hinojosa said this is the perfect time to order the Register to Vote plate.
“It’s crunch time and we all need to do everything we can right now to ensure everyone gets registered and votes,” she said.