Voting by Mail

Voting by mail in Texas has been available to elderly voters and voters with physical disabilities for decades. Remember, however, that many of the legal safeguards designed to protect voters and their ballots are impossible to enforce in the privacy of the voter’s home. Here are a few tips that may prove helpful:

  • Call your local or county office holding the election and request that an application to vote by mail be sent to you, or download the application here (PDF).
  • To vote by mail, you must provide ONE of the following numbers on your ABBM: (1) Texas Driver’s License, Texas Personal Identification Number or Election Identification Certificate Number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (NOT your voter registration VUID number); OR (2) If you have not been issued one of the numbers above, the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If you have not been issued a Texas Driver’s License, Texas Personal Identification Number or Texas Election Identification Certificate Number or a Social Security Number, you must indicate so by checking the appropriate box on the ABBM.
  • If you need help filling out the form or mailing it, ask someone you trust to help you. Your helper’s name and address must be written next to your signature and they must sign the application.
  • Address your application to the Early Voting Clerk. Applications mailed to an address other than the Early Voting Clerk may be rejected.
  • Send your application for a ballot by mail as early as 60 days before an election. This will give you plenty of time to receive your ballot, mark it, and mail it back to the Early Voting Clerk. All applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk not later than the 11th day before election day by the close of regular business or 12 noon, whichever is later. Applications to vote by mail must be submitted in person or by mail, email, common or contract carrier, or fax (if a fax machine is available in the office of the early voting clerk).
  • If you are voting by mail because you are disabled or are 65 years of age or older, you may use a single application to request ballots by mail for all county elections in the calendar year. While you can submit this “annual” application anytime during the calendar year, it must be received at least 11 days before the first election in which you seek to request a ballot by mail.
  • Generally, a ballot must be mailed to the address where you are registered to vote. However, if you are 65 or older or have a physical disability, you may have your ballot sent to a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility, retirement center, or relative, but you must check the blank on the form indicating which address you are providing. If your reason for voting by mail is absence from the county, the ballot must be mailed to an address outside the county.
  • If you need help reading, marking, or mailing the actual ballot, ask a trusted relative or friend for help. It’s not uncommon for someone from a political organization to offer to help with your ballot soon after you’ve received it. We recommend you decline this kind of help for several reasons. If you allow your ballot to be mailed by someone you don’t know, it might not be mailed at all. If it’s delivered to the elections office by a common or contract carrier from the address of a candidate or a campaign’s headquarters, your ballot will be rejected.
  • Finally, if someone helps you with your mail ballot, you must put your helper’s name and address on the carrier envelope, which is the one used to return your ballot to the early voting clerk. Your helper must also sign the carrier envelope.