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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in Texas

Eligibility

  • Age: At least 17 years and 10 months old, and 18 years old by Election Day
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: May be eligible to vote if not on parole, on probation, or in prison
  • Mental incapacitation: Cannot vote if declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: Must be a resident of the county in Texas where you submit the application
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state or register to vote in TX
  • Check to see if you are already registered https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

More information: https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/index.html

 

Deadline

Mail-in registration

Printable forms (in English and Spanish): https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/where-to-get-an-application-2.html

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.

Choosing a political party: You do not have to choose a political party affiliation when you register.

In-Person registration

You can also register in person at your county Voter Registrar's Office (find yours at https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml)

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or other registration information change, submit a new voter registration form to your voter registrar. Alternatively, if you moved to a new location in the same county, you can submit an address change online: https://txapps.texas.gov/tolapp/sos/SOSACManager

Cancelling registration

The voter registrar in each county maintains the voter rolls. To remove someone from a voter roll, contact the local voter registrar

County Voter Registrar's offices: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml

 

ID Requirements for Texas Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

All voters who register to vote in Texas must provide a Texas driver’s license number or personal identification number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you don’t have such a number, simply provide the last four digits of your social security number. If you don’t have a social security number, you need to state that fact.

Online Registration

There is no fully online procedure for registering to vote in Texas. You may print a voter registration application form online that can be mailed in to the voter registrar in your county of residence. On this application you may provide your Texas driver's license number, personal identification number, or the last four digits of your social security number.

Mail-in Registration

An ID is not required for mail-in registration, but you must provide one of the documents listed on the form to verify residence:

  • Driver’s license number, OR
  • Last four digits of Social Security number

If you cannot meet any of the above requirements, you may sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot subject to verification of your eligibility to vote.

The informal online application can be found and printed at: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp
Your county’s voter registrar can be found at: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/votregduties.shtml

ID Requirements for Voting

Voters Aged 18-69

Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID, which can be expired for up to four years if otherwise valid:

  • 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)

 

Voters Aged 70+

 For voters aged 70 or older, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid.

 

Alternate Supporting Forms of ID

Here is a list of the supporting forms of ID that can be presented if the voter does not possess one of the forms of acceptable photo ID 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 one of the forms of supporting ID listed above, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.

 

Exemptions

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. 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.

 

More information: https://www.votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id.html

 

Casting a Ballot in Texas

Important Dates

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • Ballots by mail can be requested and approved by the county Early Voting Clerk beginning January 1st each year.
  • Applications for ballot by mail for the November 3, 2020 uniform election will be available on January 1, 2020 and will not be accepted after October 23, 2020.
  • A ballot by mail for the November 3 uniform election is due to the Early Voting Clerk "Tuesday, November 3, 2020 (Election Day) at 7:00 p.m. if carrier envelope is not postmarked, OR Wednesday, November 4, 2020 (next business day after Election Day) at 5:00 p.m. if carrier envelope is postmarked by 7:00 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day (unless overseas or military voter deadlines apply)"

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Military and overseas voters can use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to apply for an absentee ballot by mail (must be received by the county Early Voting Clerk no later than 7 days before the election). They will then receive a hard copy or emailed, printable ballot which must be filled and returned by mail by 7:00 p.m. on election day, or 5 days after election day for overseas voters.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

You may apply for and receive an absentee ballot if you are:

  • 65 years or older,
  • disabled,
  • out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance, or
  • confined in jail, but otherwise eligible to vote

Application for Absentee Ballot (English): https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml

County Early Voting Clerk directory: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/county.shtml

 

Polling places and hours

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

Help for disabled voters

  • Disability Rights Texas runs events and programs for facilitating voting for disabled voters in Texas (https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/category/voting/).
  • If you have a disability, you may be able to vote by mail by submitting the Application for a Ballot by Mail to your county Early Voting Clerk anytime from the 60th to the 11th day before Election Day.
  • Curbside voting, accessible voting equipment, and personal assistance, including interpreters, are available at most polling places and by contacting local elections officers. More information at https://www.votetexas.gov/voters-with-special-needs/index.html

Ballots

Where to get more info on candidates

Sample ballots

Elections

Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • Texas has "open primaries" meaning voters do not have to declare a party affiliation ahead of time, however voters cannot vote in different parties' primaries in the same same election.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.

Jurisdiction

Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2020)

Representative (elected every two years)

State (even years)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, Judges of Probate (elected every four years; next election in 2022)

State Senator (elected every two years)

State Representative (elected every two years)

Statewide ballot measures

Municipal (odd years)

School Board and other boards and commissions

Mayor or First Selectman

Town Clerk

Registrar of Voters

Tax Collector

Treasurer

Aldermen or Selectmen

Constable

Local ballot measures

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Important Dates

2020 Primary Election -- March 3, 2020

Current election information: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/current-elections-information.shtml

Calendar of important dates: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/2020-important-election-dates.shtml

 

Who conducts elections?

  • The Texas Secretary of State is the Commissioner of Elections and oversees statewide and local elections
  • The Registrars of Voters maintains voter rolls for each municipality
  • Town Clerks prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality

More detailed information regarding conducting elections to be found at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/conducting/index.shtml

Voter Bill of Rights

  • A ballot with written instructions on how to cast a ballot.
  • Ask the polling place official for instructions on how to cast a ballot (but not suggestions on how to vote).
  • Cast your vote in secret and free from intimidation.
  • Receive up to two more ballots if you make a mistake while marking the ballot.
  • Bring an interpreter to assist you as you qualify to vote if you do not understand the English language.
  • Help to cast your ballot if you cannot write, see the ballot, or understand the language in which it is written.
  • Report a possible voting rights abuse to the Secretary of State (1.800.252.8683) or to your local election official.
  • Cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters.
  • (1) Cast a provisional ballot
    • (a) if you do not possess one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo identification, which, if you are under 70, is not expired for more than four years, and you can reasonably obtain one of these forms of identification or
    • (b) if you possess, but did not bring to the polling place, one of the seven forms of acceptable photo identification, which, if you are under 70, is not expired for more than four years, or
    • (c) if you do not possess one of the seven forms of acceptable photo identification, which, if you are under 70, is not expired for more than four years, you could otherwise not reasonably obtain one, but you did not bring a supporting form of identification to the polling place, and
  • (2) the right to present one of the acceptable forms of photo identification, which, if you are under 70, is not expired for more than four years, or, if you do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo identification, the right to execute a reasonable impediment declaration and present one of the supporting forms of identification, to the county voter registrar’s office, within six (6) calendar days after election day, or, if applicable, qualify for a temporary (natural disaster or religious objection to being photographed) or permanent (disability) exemption, within six (6) calendar days of election day, at the county voter registrar’s office.
  • Vote once at any early voting location during the early voting period within the territory conducting the election.
  • File an administrative complaint with the Secretary of State concerning violations of federal and state voting procedures.

More information found at https://www.votetexas.gov/your-rights/

 

Complaints about (1) candidates or (2) how elections are conducted

Campaign finance

Information regarding campaign finance reports can be found with the Texas Ethics Commission (https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/search/cf/)

How to contact your elected officials:

 

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.