Early Voting

Q. What will I need in order to vote in person on election day or during early voting?

A.

When a voter arrives at a polling location, the voter will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID (listed below). If a voter does not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot reasonably obtain one, the voter may present a supporting form of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, noting the voter’s reasonable impediment to obtaining an acceptable form of photo identification, stating that the information contained in the declaration is true, that the voter is the same individual personally appearing at the polling place to sign the declaration, and that the voter faces a reasonable impediment to procuring an acceptable form of photo identification. If a voter has continued access to their acceptable form of photo ID, but, for example, forgets to bring their acceptable form of approved photo ID to the polling place and/or left it, for example, at home or in their car, the voter still possesses the acceptable photo ID and must use it to vote.

Election officials are required to determine whether the voter’s name on the identification (acceptable form of photo ID or supporting form of ID (if applicable)) provided matches the name on the official list of registered voters (“OLRV”). After a voter presents their ID, whether it’s an acceptable form of photo ID or a supporting form of ID (if applicable), the election worker will compare it to the OLRV. If the name on the ID matches the name on the list of registered voters, the voter will follow the regular procedures for voting.

If the name does not match exactly but is “substantially similar” to the name on the OLRV, the voter will be permitted to vote as long as the voter signs an affidavit stating that the voter is the same person on the list of registered voters.

If a voter does not possess an acceptable form of photo ID, cannot reasonably obtain one, and does not have or does not bring a supporting form of ID to present in connection with a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, or if the voter does not possess an acceptable form of photo ID and can reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo ID, or if the voter possesses, but did not bring with them, an acceptable form of photo ID, the voter may cast a provisional ballot at the polls. However, in order to have the provisional ballot counted the voter will be required to visit the county voter registrar’s office within six calendar days of the date of the election to either present an acceptable form of photo ID OR, if the voter does not possess and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo ID, follow the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure, or, if applicable, submit one of the temporary affidavits addressed in these FAQs (religious objection or natural disaster) in the presence of the county voter registrar, or, if applicable, qualify for the disability exemption addressed in these FAQs with the county voter registrar.

Alternatively, a voter who possesses an acceptable form of photo ID but does not have it at the polling place, or a voter who does not possess an acceptable form of photo ID, and is reasonably able to obtain one, may choose to leave the polling place and return before the close of the polls on election day with an acceptable form of photo ID to vote a regular ballot at that time. In addition, a voter who does not possess, would otherwise not be able to reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo ID, but did not bring a supporting form of ID to the polling place, may choose to leave the polling place and return before the close of the polls on election day with said supporting form of ID to fill out the Reasonable Impediment Declaration and, if they otherwise qualify, vote a regular ballot at that time.

Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID at the polling place:

  • 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 the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, for voters aged 18-69, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 4 years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place. Voters aged 70 or older may use one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID that has expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.

Election Identification Certificates are available from all DPS driver license offices during regular business hours. Also, find mobile station locations here.

Here is a list of supporting forms of ID that can be presented if the voter does not possess an acceptable form of photo identification, and cannot reasonably obtain one:

  • copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate;
  • copy of or original current utility bill;
  • copy of or original bank statement;
  • copy of or original government check;
  • copy of or original paycheck; or
  • copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).

After presenting a supporting form of ID, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.

Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption to presenting an acceptable photo identification or following the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure in the county. The application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing the applicant’s disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. The applicant must also state that he/she does not have a form of identification prescribed by Section 63.0101 of the Texas Election Code. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote upon display of their voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption, and will not need to execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. Please contact your county voter registrar for more details.

Voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed or who do not present an acceptable form of photo identification listed above or follow the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure because of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor, may vote a provisional ballot, appear at the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days after election day, and sign an affidavit swearing to the religious objection or natural disaster, in order for the voter’s ballot to be counted. Please contact your county voter registrar for more details.

Q. Who is eligible to vote early? What are the dates for voting early in person?

A.

Any registered voter may vote early by personal appearance (in person). Early voting by personal appearance for the May 22, 2018 Election begins on May 14, 2018 and ends on May 18, 2018. You may vote at any early voting location in your county of registration.

Q. Where do I go to vote?

A.

You will be able to find early voting locations by using our search site Am I Registered?, which will be populated with voting sites a few days before early voting begins. Or, you may want to contact the Early Voting Clerk for State and County Elections in your county. Also, many newspapers publish early voting and election day polling locations, so you might be able to find the information there.

Q. Can anybody vote early by mail (also referred to as “absentee voting”)?

A.

Only specific reasons entitle a registered voter to vote early by mail (no longer called absentee voting). You may request a ballot by mail if you:

  1. will be away from your county on Election Day and during the hours that early voting is conducted;
  2. are sick or disabled;
  3. are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
  4. are confined in jail.

Q. I fall under one of the 4 reasons above. What do I do now? Are there deadlines connected with this procedure?

A.

First, request an Application for Ballot by Mail (ABBM) from the Early Voting Clerk in the political subdivision conducting your election, or from our office. You may also print an ABBM directly from our website (PDF), (Spanish version (PDF). Once received, read the instructions carefully, complete the ABBM form and return it to the Early Voting Clerk. For the May 22, 2018 Election date, the last day to apply for an ABBM to the early voting clerk is May 11, 2018, in order for you to receive a ballot by mail. The deadline to receive ballots mailed within the United States from non-military and military voters who submitted an Application for Ballot by Mail (“ABBM”) is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, if the carrier envelope has a postmark showing it was in the mail by May 22, 2018.  Please note that different deadlines apply to the last day to receive ballots sent by the following: 1) non-military and military voters who are overseas and submitted an ABBM, 2) non-military voters who mailed ballots from overseas and who submitted a Federal Postcard Application (“FPCA”), and (3) military voters who mailed ballots domestically or from overseas and who submitted a FPCA. Those ballots must be received by the early voting clerk by May 29, 2018.  Ballots in categories (1) and (2) must bear a postmark indicating the ballot was mailed by May 22, 2018.  Ballots in category (3) do not need to have any postmark.

Q. Can anyone vote early, or only those people who are going to be out of town on Election Day? What are the dates for voting early in person?

A.

Any registered voter may vote early in person. To vote early by mail, you must first complete an Application for Ballot by Mail (PDF). For complete details, refer to our section "Early Voting."

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