Texas Historial Voter Records

Records that contain names and information on individual voters were never recorded during the period that Texas was under Spanish or Mexican rule. Likewise, although numerous elections were held during the period of the Texas Republic, the records do not identify any of its citizens by name.

Voter Records After Statehood

Oddly, the most important voter records for the period of the Texas Republic are found in voter registrations taken after the Civil War. Thus, under laws set up by the Reconstruction government in 1867, qualified voters of each county were required to register, under oath. In addition, they were required to meet certain conditions regarding their participation in the then recent “insurrection” against the United States.

As a result of these conditions, many whites were not eligible to vote. Many others who were eligible were disqualified by Reconstruction officials, or simply did not register. In all, over 100,000 citizens were registered under these laws, with blacks representing about 45% of this total. Although most Confederate veterans were disfranchised and do not show up in the records, the records are among the first ever to provide data with some detail on black citizens.

Importantly for our purposes here, each voter signed a registration form on which personal information was recorded. The records are now kept in the Texas State Archives. In most cases they show, by name, the date of registration, where the voter then lived, where he was born, and how long he had lived in Texas. Although not a blank on the form, notations in the Register indicate black voters.

From this information, it can be determined that the voter lived in the Republic of Texas if the records showed that he had lived in Texas for at least twenty-two years (or 23 or 24 years, depending on the date of registration). The completeness of the records varies widely from county to county depending on the Reconstruction officials responsible for completing the Registry.

The Texian Database now contains approximately 1000 entries taken from these voter records. These entries represent more than 75 counties and include voters that had lived in Texas the longest period of time. We will be adding to these entries in the future as the database expands.

About Lyman

Lyman Hardeman has held a deep interest in Texas history. He spent his youth in College Station, Texas and received a degree in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M in 1966. In 1995, Lyman created Lone Star Junction, a popular Texas history website that later merged with TexasProud.com. Lyman is a life member of the Texas State Historical Association and the author of Texas A&M The First 25 Years.