This year, many Texans are choosing to cast their votes by mail. Voting by mail is a safe and reliable way to make your voice heard in this election, but there are several important things to know and key deadlines to remember.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of Texans who have requested a ballot by mail this year, here are answers to some commonly asked questions. [[embed Election Protection VBM video]]
Q: Do I qualify to vote by mail?
A: Unlike some states, in order to vote by mail in Texas, you must meet one of several criteria. Read more about who qualifies to vote by mail.
Q: When will I get my ballot?
A: If your application is received within 45 days of Election Day, the county must mail out your ballot within seven days of approving your application.
Q: What is the deadline to submit my ballot?
A:For most people voting by mail, Texas counties must receive completed ballots by Election Day. If they’re postmarked by 7 p.m. that day, they’ll be counted if they come in the next day by 5 p.m.
To be sure your ballot is counted, mail your ballot in as early as possible. The U.S. Postal Service recommends voters request a mail-in ballot no later than 15 days before Election Day.
Texans voting by mail can also deliver their completed ballots in person at their county elections office instead of mailing them in. That’s typically only allowed while polls are open on Election Day, but the state has expanded that option during the pandemic to allow voters to return their ballots in person prior to. Those voters will need to present photo ID when dropping off their ballots.
Q: Can my mail-in ballot be rejected?
A: Yes. Be careful filling out your ballot. It can be rejected for multiple reasons: if you forgot to sign your ballot, or if the ballot review board finds that your signature doesn’t match what is on the voter application; if you indicated you would be out of the county during the voting period, but your ballot was mailed from within the county; or you missed the deadline.
Q: How can I find out if my ballot has been received?
A: You can call your county elections office. Some – but not all – Texas counties also have online tools where you can track your mail ballot. You can find a list of county elections offices and their contact information here.
Q: Can I vote in person if I have already requested a mail-in ballot?
A: The short answer is yes. The process will be more streamlined if you bring your mail-in ballot with you to your polling place so you can surrender it before casting your vote. If you don’t have your ballot or never received it, you can still cast a provisional ballot. Your vote will be counted once the county determines it never received your mail-in ballot.
You can find more information about how to make sure your voice is heard in this important election through Let Texans Vote.