The Voting Process

September 12, 2020

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This page provides you with information every eligible Texas voter needs to make sure their voice is heard in our democratic process. It also includes links to resources for specific tools and resources for unique voting situations.


Select from the menu to jump to the relevant section:


Voter eligibility

You are eligible to vote if:

  • You are a United States citizen.
  • You are a resident of the state and of the county where you are trying to vote.
  • You are 18 years old (you can register to vote if you are at least 17 years and 10 months old and will be 18 on Election Day).
  • You registered on or before Oct. 5.
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, or you have been convicted of a felony and have completed your sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision or probation.
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

Voter registration

You must be registered at least 30 days (by Oct. 5) before Election Day. You may register in-person with your county voter registration official or you may submit your registration to your county voter registration official by mail using this application form. For more information on how to register, visit the state website VoteTexas.gov.

If you have recently moved within the same county or changed your name, you can update your voter registration at the Secretary of State's Voter Registration Name/Address Change website. If you do not update your information, you can still vote. If you have moved within a county, you must vote in your former precinct. If you have moved to a different county, you need to re-register; otherwise you can only vote a limited ballot in your new County and only during early voting. You will not be able to vote on Election Day.

You can check the Texas Secretary of State website to see if you are registered to vote at your current address with your correct name.

Voter ID requirement

Texas requires voters to present a valid form of identification at the polls. These are the seven forms of acceptable photo ID:

  1. TX Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  2. TX Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  3. TX Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  4. TX Handgun License issued by DPS
  5. U.S. Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  6. U.S. Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  7. U.S. Passport (book or card)

You can still cast a ballot if you are a registered voter and do not have one of these forms of identification by filling out a "reasonable impediment declaration" at the polling location. If you have more questions about using an expired ID or having the right kind of ID, visit our Voter ID page to learn more.

Voting by mail

You are eligible to vote by mail if:

  • You are sick or disabled.
  • You are 65 years or older.
  • You are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible to vote.
  • You will be out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting.

To apply for a ballot by mail, download or submit an order for an application on the Texas Secretary of State website and submit it to your local county voting clerk. The clerk must receive your application by Oct. 23.

Special COVID-19 voting-by-mail considerations

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that lack of immunity alone to COVID-19 is not sufficient to qualify an individual vote by mail under the disability category. The court also said that "a voter can take into consideration aspects of his health and his health history that are physical conditions in deciding whether, under the circumstances, to apply to vote by mail because of disability."

If you determine that you qualify to vote by mail, you do not need to provide proof of your qualification or otherwise indicate your reasoning beyond checking a box that indicates the category under which you fall (over 65, disability, etc.). The county clerk must process your application if you fill out the form and does not have authority to investigate your reason for checking any particular box.

Where to vote

  • If your county has county-wide polling, you can go anywhere in your county to vote. A list of counties with county-wide polling is available at the Texas Secretary of State website.
  • If your county does not have county-wide polling, you can only vote at your precinct’s designated polling location on Election Day. To find your precinct, visit the website for your County Election Office.

Accessibility at the polling booth

All polling places in Texas must ensure:

  • Any curb near the main entrance must have curb-cuts or non-slip ramps
  • Doors, entrances and exits must be at least 32 inches wide
  • Any stairs must have handrails on each side and a non-slip ramp
  • Ground-floor entrances that can be accessed via the street or an elevator
  • Voting systems that are accessible to voters with physical disabilities. Each polling place will offer at least one type of accessible voting equipment, or a Direct Record Electronic (DRE) device.

Curbside voting for early voting and Election Day

  • If you are physically unable to enter the polling place, you may ask an election official to bring a ballot to the entrance of the polling place, or to a car parked at the curbside. You can then mark the ballot, return it to the election officer, who will place it in the ballot box. If you wish, you can have someone of your choice hand you your ballot and place it in the box for you.
  • If you plan on using this method, the Secretary of State’s office recommends that you call ahead so that county election officials will expect you.

Language assistance at the polling place

You are entitled to receive language assistance if you:

  • Cannot read or write
  • Have a physical disability that prevents you from reading or marking the ballot
  • Cannot speak English, or communicate only with sign language, and want assistance in communicating with election officials

All limited English proficiency voters and voters with disabilities may obtain assistance from a person of their choice in communicating with election officials. The person providing assistance can be anyone other than the voter’s employer, or an agent of the employer or of the voter’s union. If you do not have a companion who may help you, you can ask a poll worker for assistance.

Interpretation

If you cannot speak English, or communicate only with sign language, you may use an interpreter that is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union to help communicate with election officials.

  • Even if the election officials can speak the same language as you, you can still use an interpreter.
  • If you are hearing impaired and do not have an interpreter available, contact your election officials prior to voting and request assistance.
  • The person assisting you must read you the entire ballot, not just portions of it, unless you specifically ask for that. They must also take an oath that they will not influence your vote and mark your ballot the way you want them to.
  • It is illegal for the person assisting you to:
    • Try to influence the voter’s vote
    • Mark the ballot in any other way than asked
    • Tell anyone how the voter voted

Non-English ballots

Counties with Asian American, Latinx, and Native American/Alaskan Native populations that meet certain requirements are required by the Voting Rights Act to provide non-English ballots. For example, if you live in a county with a large Latinx population, there must be ballots in Spanish. If your election place does not have a ballot in your language, you can still vote! You can ask someone you trust to help interpret your ballot.

Election Contacts

  • For assistance on voter registration and other election issues, contact the Secretary of State's office at 1-800-252-VOTE. To get in touch with your local county officials, look up your county elections office and your voter registration official.
  • During elections, report polling issues and voter intimidation at the Election Protection Hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, a collaboration between several voting rights groups, including the ACLU of Texas.