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Voting in Texas: Tools and Tips

This FAQ was compiled by Texas Legal Services Center from several sources, all of which are government agencies or nonpartisan nonprofit organizations. It is current as of November 2018.

 

See also Voting in Texas: What You Need to Know.

 

 

Where do I vote?

There are several tools available that can help you figure out where to vote.

  • Vote411 (type in your address and click on the green “enter” button to find out what will be on your ballot and where to vote)
  • The Texas Tribune (type in your address, press “enter” or “return” on your keyboard, and it will generate your ballot)
  • MyVoterPage (a service of the Texas Secretary of State)

Vote411, which is a service of the League of Women Voters, also lists the following poll locator services:

Some additional Texas counties that have poll locator and ballot tools include:

You may want to check with your county, too, if it is not listed above. The Texas Secretary of State lists county election administrators.

 

When do I vote?

See When to Vote from the Texas Secretary of State.

In Texas, according to the Harris County Clerk, 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. 

 

Am I registered to vote?

You can confirm whether you are registered to vote by visiting the “Am I Registered?” tool at the website of the Texas Secretary of State. You can enter information such as your driver’s license and date of birth, or voter ID number if you have it. 

 

What is early voting?

If you cannot vote on Election Day, consider voting early. There are obvious advantages to voting early, like having multiple places to vote and shorter wait times. See the Texas Secretary of State's page on early voting

Check with your county elections clerk for locations and procedures.

 

 

 

What kind of ID do I need to vote?

According to the Texas Secretary of State, the following forms of identification are acceptable:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing your photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing your photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

See Required Identification for Voting in Person and What will I need in order to vote in person on election day or during early voting?

 

What is a provisional vote?

If you are a registered voter—but are told at the poll that you cannot vote for one of the reasons below—you might still be able to vote using a provisional ballot

You may be turned away if you:

  • did not present an acceptable form of ID,
  • are not on the list of registered voters,
  • are registered in another precinct,
  • voted early by mail without cancelling your mail ballot application, or
  • are still in line to vote after the polls close.

To cast a provisional ballot, you complete an affidavit of provisional voter. You will have to go to the voter registrar's office within six calendar days of the election and present a compliant ID. If no ID is available, you may be able to file a reasonable impediment declaration.

For more, read the section on provisional voting at VoteTexas.gov's FAQ section and Texas Provisional Voting by the League of Women Voters.

 

What is the wait time at the polls?

Some Texas counties may offer apps that let you check wait times in real time at voting stations. Examples:

 

What can I do if I'm not allowed to vote?

If you try to vote but are turned away, call the Election Protection hotlines.

  • English, 866-OUR-VOTE, 866-687-8683
  • Spanish / English,  866-VE-Y-VOTA, 888-839-8682
  • Asian Languages / English, 888-API-VOTE, 888-274-8683
  • Arabic /  English, 844-YALLA-US, 844-925-5287

 

What activities are prohibited at the polls?

Under Texas law, you cannot do—or wear—certain things within 100 feet of a polling station.

For example, you cannot:

  • use wireless communications devices like cell phones; 
  • take selfies;
  • record sound or images;
  • bring a firearm onto the premises of a polling place (unless you are a law enforcement officer); 
  • engage in electioneering.
    • "Electioneering" can mean expressing preference for a candidate, such as posting or passing out political signs or literature.
      • You should remove or conceal:
        • Buttons or pins, and 
        • Clothing favoring your candidate (which can be as simple as putting on a jacket or turning your T-shirt inside out)
See Certain Activities in Vicinity of Polling Places (election advisory from Texas Secretary of State, October 14, 2018).
 
 

Where can I learn about the candidates?

The League of Women Voters - Texas offers a nonpartisan guide to candidates. 

Finding out about local candidates, such as city-, county-, or school district-level, may require some research on your part. The website of the Texas Secretary of State has links to Texas counties' voting information, which may have information about local races. You should also check your city’s official website, and local news sources. 

The League of Women Voters also has regional chapters, so go to its website and plug in your ZIP code to see if there is one that serves your area.

 

 

I have a felony on my record. Can I vote?

The Texas Constitution says that people convicted of a felony are not allowed to vote. There are exceptions. For example, someone who has a felony on their record may be able to vote if they served and fully discharged their sentence, or were pardoned.

See Texas Elections Code chapter 11.002(4) and Restrictions on Convicted Felons in Texas (at the Texas State Law Library, which has links to the state constitution and election code).

 

Who can vote by mail?

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. 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.

 

I lost everything in a natural disaster. Can I still vote?

You can still vote if you were affected by a natural disaster such as flooding. See Voting Issues for Texas Harvey Evacuees at the Texas Secretary of State's website. Although this link mainly addresses Hurricane Harvey-specific concerns, the same principles apply if you have survived another recent natural disaster.

 

 

What does Texas law say about paid time off for voting?

You might be entitled to paid time off for voting under limited circumstances, according to guidance from the Texas Workforce Commission. You may have at least two paid hours off to vote on an election day unless you have already voted during early voting, or have at least two consecutive hours to vote outside of your normal working hours.

 

I'm registered to vote but just moved to a new county. Can I vote?

If you are a registered Texas voter but moved to another county, you might be able to vote using a limited ballot. That means you can vote on any statewide races and also for any district offices that overlap between your old county and your new county.

Learn how to cast a limited ballot with this guidance from the Texas Secretary of State's office.