Vote411.org
League of Women Voters

Voting In Texas

Registration Deadlines
In Person:
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
By Mail:
Postmarked by Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Election Dates:
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (Local Runoff Elections - if required)
Secretary of State
208 East 10th Street
Thomas J. Rusk Bldg.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone:
512-463-5650
Fax:
512-475-2761

Upcoming Debates and Forums

There are no upcoming debates for this state.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote in Texas you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • A resident of the county in which you intend to vote (See below for information if you have recently moved)
  • At least 18 years old (you may register at 17 years and 10 months)
  • Not convicted of a felony (unless your sentence is completed, including any probation or parole)
  • Not declared mentally incompetent by a court of law
  • Be registered 30 days before the election in which you plan to vote

If you have recently moved:

If you moved within the same county where you are currently registered, you must file the new address information in writing with your voter registrar or you may submit the in county change online. If you miss this deadline, you may return to your old precinct to vote, but you will be required to complete a statement of residence confirming your new address in your new precinct.

If you moved to a new county, you must re-register in your new county of residence to be eligible to vote in the election. If you miss this deadline, you may be eligible to vote a limited ballot. A limited ballot is available only during the early voting period. The limited ballot application will also act as a voter registration application. Contact your county voter registration official for more information.

For more information on how to update your registration, click here.

ID Needed for Voter Registration

In order to register to vote in Texas you must include your Texas driver's license number or personal ID number issued by the Texas Department of public Safety on the application form. If you do not have either of these numbers you may provide the last four digits of your social security number on the form. If you don't have a social security number you must check the box stating you do not have this information

 

 

ID Needed for Voting?

All citizens wishing to vote must be on the official list of registered voters. Voters may use one of seven (7) forms of photo ID, listed below. IDs may be expired up to four years. Persons seventy years of age or older may use an expired ID.

  • Driver license

  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC)

  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS

  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS

  • US military identification card containing the person’s photograph

  • US citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph

  • US passport (book or card)

Registered voters without photo ID, who cannot reasonably obtain one, may sign a form and present the original or a copy of one of the following documents with the voters name and address to vote a regular ballot:

  • Voter registration card

  • Certifiedbirthcertificate

  • Current utility bill

  • Bankstatement

  • Government check

  • Paycheck

  • Any other government document such as an out of state driver’s license or ex- pired Texas driver’s license.

The form is called a “Voter’s Declaration of Reasonable Impediment or Difficulty.” The voter must mark on the form one of the following reasons for not providing a photo ID.*

  • Lack of transportation

  • Disability or illness

  • Lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photo ID.

  • Work schedule

  • Family responsibilities

  • Lost or stolen identification

  • Acceptable form of photo ID applied for but not received

*ID address does not have to match the voter registration address.

A student ID is not a form of vailid voter ID.

Once you sign the form and show your ID you will be able to cast a normal ballot at your polling place.

The name on your photo ID and the list of registered voters must match. If your name is substantially similar (if it's slightly different, is a common variation of your formal name, contains an initial, middle name or former last name or your first, middle or last name is in a different field on the ID than on the list of registered voters) you may still be able to vote a normal ballot. However, you must also submit an affidavit stating that you are the same person as is listed on the list of registered voters.

If you do not have any of these forms of ID, you can get an Election Identification Certificate to present at the polling place. To find out more about these certificates, click here.

Registration Deadline

There is no length of residency requirement before registering to vote in Texas. To vote in an upcoming election, the properly completed voter registration form must be postmarked 30 days before the upcoming election to be valid. In person registration must also be completed 30 days before an election.

You may request a postage-paid application by filling out the application form. A voter registration application will be mailed to you soon after. You must mail the voter registration application to the voter registrar in your county of residence. You may also pick up a voter registration application at many post offices, libraries, Texas department of public safety offices, or Texas department of human services offices throughout the state.

If you moved within the same county where you are currently registered, you must file the new address information in writing with your voter registrar or you may submit the in county change online. If you miss this deadline, you may return to your old precinct to vote, but you will be required to complete a statement of residence confirming your new address in your new precinct.

If you moved to a new county, you must re-register in your new county of residence to be eligible to vote in the election. If you miss this deadline, you may be eligible to vote a limited ballot. A limited ballot is available only during the early voting period. The limited ballot application will also act as a voter registration application. Contact your county voter registration official for more information.

If you are a student who spends several weeks or months a year in different locations, but you want to vote in Texas, you will need to decide which place in Texas is the geographic location you consider to be your permanent home. This location should be where you intend to return after any temporary absence. When you are describing your residence on the voter application, you are making a factual statement to the best of your knowledge and belief. You are presumed under Texas law to be in the best position to make a factual determination concerning where your residence is for registration purposes. However, you cannot register in more than one location; if you register in one county but put another Texas county as your home on the application, your application will be forwarded to the Texas county of your residence.

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status, please utilize your state's registration tool.

Absentee Ballot Process

To qualify for an absentee ballot, you must be:

  • Absent from your county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period
  • Sick or have a disability that prevents you from voting in person without assistance
  • 65 or older
  • Confined to jail serving a misdemeanor sentence; or confined to jail without bail pending trial for a felony or appeal of a felony conviction

You must request an application for ballot by mail (ABBM) from an early voting clerk in the county where you are registered, or from the secretary of state's office. Once received, read the instructions carefully, complete the ABBM form and return to the early voting clerk in your county by mail, common carrier or fax. The application must be received by the early voting clerk before the early voting in person period begins (usually the 17th day before the election).

The Early Voting Clerk must receive your marked ballot by 7pm on Election Day or by the 5th day after Election Day if your ballot is submitted from outside the US.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Early Voting

In person early voting is available to any registered voter in Texas beginning on the 17th day (12th day before a May election) before an election  - unless it's a weekend then early voting starts on Monday, and ending on the fourth day before Election Day. No excuse is needed to vote early in person. Early voting in person is conducted in the building that houses the office of the County Clerk or City Secretary, or in a place designated by the County Commissioners or City Council.

 

Election Dates

The next election date is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 (Local Runoffs - if necessary). The registration deadline is Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Contact your local Board of Elections for more information.

Mobile phones and tablets are prohibited in the voting booth, but the law allows you to take the Voters Guide with you. You can also use the interactive version here at VOTE411.org to print your choices to take with you. 

 

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Texas:

  • You must be registered to vote in Texas
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Political affiliation generally required
  • You must be a resident of the precinct for 30 days prior to the election
  • You must complete required training

You will be entitled to compensation

For information about student elections clerks, aged 16 or older, visit your state resource.

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Polling Place Hours

On election day the polling place will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Time Off To Vote

Employers must grant employees paid leave to vote on Election Day, unless polls are open two hours before or after regular working shift.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

Provisional Voting

Provisional Ballots are counted between 7-13 days after the election.

You are eligible to vote a provisional ballot if:

  • You claim to be an eligible voter, but your name does not appear on the list of registered voters, and your registration cannot be determined by the voter registrar
  • You have applied for a ballot by mail, but have not returned it or cancelled it with the main early voting clerk
  • You vote during extended polling hours ordered by a state or federal court
  • You are registered, but are attempting to vote in a precinct other than the one in which you are registered
  • You do not present a voter registration certificate or any other acceptable form of identification
  • You are registered in the precinct, but your address is not located in the political subdivision conducting the election
  • You voted in another party's primary in the primary election

If you claim to be registered, but your name is not on the list of registered voters, the presiding judge shall call the voter registrar to determine if you are registered. If registration can be confirmed, and you can show identification, you may vote a regular ballot, or be directed to the correct precinct if you are in the wrong precinct. You may vote a provisional ballot, but you must be informed that it will not be counted if:

  • You registered in a different precinct
  • It is indicated on the voter registration list that you voted by mail
  • You have no identification

Provisional voters will receive a notice in the mail by the 10th day after the election letting them know if their provisional ballots were county, and if they were not counted, the reasons why.

Texas does offer a limited ballot, but it is not considered a provisional ballot. Limited ballots are available if you have moved from one Texas county to another and are registered to vote in the former county of residence, but your voter registration in the new county will not be effective by election day due to the 30 day required period between registration and the election. This limited ballot is available only during early voting by personal appearance or by mail. The limited ballot contains only offices or propositions to be voted on statewide, or offices or propositions of territorial units of which you were a resident both before and after your move.

Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Texas are optical scan, DRE and paper ballots.

Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen, where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

Paper Ballots: Paper ballots are one of the oldest ways of voting in America. They are still used in a few places on Election Day. When you come to the polling place, you will get a paper ballot from the poll worker. You take it to the voting booth, and use a pen or pencil to mark a box next to your candidate and issue choices. You then drop the marked ballot into a sealed ballot box.

The following vendors are currently certified by the State of Texas:

  • Diebold Electronic Systems, Inc. (Accu-Vote TS)
  • Election Systems and Software, Inc. (AutoMARK 1.0, iVotronic v.8.0.1.0.)
  • Hart Intercivic, Inc. (eSlate v.5.0, v.3.3)

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

Information on local, state and federal candidates and ballot measures may be available here.

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

 

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

If you have a sickness or physical condition that prevents you from voting without personal assistance or voting could negatively impact your health, you are eligible to vote using the early voting by mail materials on election day, at the main early voting polling place, or at your precinct polling place.

If you are physically unable to enter the polling place, an election official may deliver the ballot to you at the entrance or curb of the polling place. If you are physically unable to mark your ballot, or cannot read the ballot, you are eligible for assistance. You may choose anyone as an assistant except your employer or an officer of your union, or an agent of either. The assistant must take an oath of assistance administered by an election official. The assistant may read the ballot to you and mark your ballot. If you do not choose your own assistant, two election officials (of different political parties in the General Election) may assist you. Poll watchers and inspectors can observe the assistance by election officials.

An interpreter may be used if you and the election official cannot speak the same language. The interpreter must be a registered voter of the county, must take the oath of assistance and may interpret for any number of voters. Under HAVA, all Texas counties must provide one direct electronic voting machine (DRE) at each polling place for use by voters with visual disabilities, so they may cast their ballot without assistance. These machines are equipped with headphones and a keypad.

To find out more about how you may receive support while voting, click here.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

If you are a person with a disability and have questions about your voting rights, call Disability Rights Texas’ Voting Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683)

Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

For information on state campaign contributions, please visit your state's resource.


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Election Day Problems?

Call one of these hotlines:
1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic)

 

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