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Voting During COVID-19

This article about voting was last updated on May 12, 2020.

Can I vote if I'm under a shelter-in-place order?

You can still vote if there is a shelter-in-place order in your Texas county. TexasLawHelp continues to monitor the situtation. A Travis County court issued a temporary injunction on April 15, 2020, that all Texans should be able to vote by mail. However, the order is being appealed. 

Check the League of Women Voters for updates on their Voting and Coronavirus page.

 

 

How can I keep myself safe when voting during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The League of Women Voters offers these tips:

  • Vote by mail if at all possible
  • Go to the polls during early voting
  • Vote during non-peak hours
  • Update your voter registration while practicing social distancing

Check the latest best practices for voting during COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control.

 

When is voting in 2020?

In 2020, there is a run-off election scheduled for July 14, 2020. Early voting for that election will begin on June 29, 2020. The general election in 2020 is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

See When to Vote and Important Election Dates from the Texas Secretary of State. 

In Texas, a political subdivision may hold an election on:

  • the first Saturday in May in an odd-numbered year;
  • the first Saturday in May in an even-numbered year, for an election held by a political subdivision other than a county; or
  • the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Poll hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day (see Texas Elections Code chapter 41.031) but hours during early voting may vary by county. 

 

 

Can I vote by mail because of COVID-19 concerns?

Maybe. In Texas, you can vote by mail if you are:

  • age 65 or older;
  • disabled;
  • out of the county on election day and during early voting; or
  • in jail but otherwise eligible.

On April 15, 2020, a court in Travis County, Texas, ruled that COVID-19 is a reason to extend voting by mail to all Texans during the COVID-19 crisis, based on the definition of "disabled" in the Texas Elections Code. See Texas Court Allows Broad Vote By Mail During Pandemic. But that order is temporary and likely to be appealed.There are also federal lawsuits pending about whether voting by mail should be restricted by age.

As of April 15, 2020,  the Texas Office of the Attorney General had issued guidance in this letter saying that voting by mail based on disability is reserved for Texans with actual illness or medical problem rendering them unable to vote in person and concern about COVID-19 does not qualify you to vote by mail. 

See Application for a Ballot by Mail at the website of the Texas Secretary of State.  

If you are in the military or live overseas, see Military & Overseas Voters to learn what to do to obtain and cast your ballot.

Voting by mail is also known as voting absentee