Voter Registration: Texas
Party Affiliation: In Texas, there are two main ways for a voter to affiliate with a party: by being accepted to vote in a party’s primary election or by taking an oath of affiliation with a party. A voter’s affiliation with a party automatically expires at the end of each calendar year, which is December 31. A voter who has affiliated themselves with a party is unable to participate in the party affairs of a party other than the party that they have affiliated themselves with.
A registered voter is not required to pre-register or take any steps towards affiliating themselves with a party before voting in a party’s primary election. Additionally, when a person registers to vote in Texas, they do not register with any kind of party affiliation.
If a voter has not voted in a party primary or taken an oath of affiliation with a party this calendar year, they have not yet affiliated with any party. If a voter has not yet affiliated with a party, they are able to vote in either party’s primary election. However, if a voter votes in the primary of one party, they will only be able to vote in that party’s primary runoff election. After being affiliated with a party, a voter is not able to change or end your party affiliation until the end of the calendar year.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: You must be at least 17 years and 10 months old to register, and you are 18 years of age by Election Day.
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of the county where you submit the application.
Felony Convictions: You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole)
Mental Competency: 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.
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
You must fill out the online application, printed it, signed it and mailed it to your local County Voter Registrar’s office to be officially registered. Your County’s Voter Registrar will then process your application, and your registration becomes effective 30 days after it is submitted (and accepted) by the County Voter Registrar.
In person: You can register in person at your county Voter Registrar’s office. (In most Texas counties, the Tax Assessor-Collector is also the Voter Registrar. In some counties, the County Clerk or Elections Administrator registers voters.)
By Mail: You can register by mail by obtaining an application from your county Voter Registrar’s office or pick up applications at libraries, government offices, or high schools.
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.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
EARLY VOTING BY MAIL BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
You may vote early by mail if:
-You will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting
-You are sick or disabled
-You are 65 years of age or older on Election Day or
-You are confined in jail, but eligible to vote
OBTAINING AN EARLY VOTING BY MAIL BALLOT
Online: Request an Application for a Ballot by Mail from the Secretary of State
Contact by Phone/Email/In Person: Early Voting Clerk in your County
Your ballot by mail application must be sent to the Early Voting Clerk in the county where you are registered to vote. Applications must be received (not postmarked) by last day of the application period, 11 days before Election Day. All applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk before the close of regular business or 12 noon, whichever is later.
Applications to vote by mail must be submitted by mail, common or contract carrier, fax, or email (send a signed, scanned application as an attachment to an email sent to the early voting clerk)
EARLY VOTING IN PERSON
Generally, early voting in person begins the 17th day before Election Day (if that’s a weekend, early voting starts on Monday) and ends the 4th day before election day. (EXCEPTION: Early voting for elections held in May starts the 12th day before Election Day and ends on the 4th day before Election Day.) Vote at a location in your political subdivision that’s close to where you live or work. All other voting rules and procedures apply – e.g., eligibility and polling hours.
MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTING
Military and overseas voters include:
-Active duty military, spouses, and dependents (voting from outside the home Texas county)
-U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) temporarily overseas away from the home Texas county
-U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) permanently overseas away from the (previous) home Texas county
Military and overseas voters are welcome to use the regular registration and early voting by mail process available above. You can also choose to register to vote using the process below.
Applying for military and overseas voting: Fill out and file your Federal Postcard Application as soon as possible but no later than the 11th day before Election Day. You may send the completed FPCA by Hard copy by mail, Common or contract carrier, Fax (if the Early Voting Clerk’s office has a fax machine) or E-mail (scanned image of signed form). If an FPCA is faxed, then the applicant must submit the original application by mail to the early voting clerk so that the early voting clerk receives the original no later than the 4th business day after receiving the faxed FPCA.
You can receive your ballot or may use the FWAB (Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot). You can choose to receive your ballot by Hard copy by mail (default method if nothing else requested), E-mail (unmarked ballot) (if election includes federal offices ), and Common or contract carrier (if paid for by voter). Unmarked ballots may not be faxed under Texas law, regardless of voter’s status.
You can return your ballot by hard copy by mail, or common or contract courier (like any other ballot by mail). If from military voter (or spouse or dependent) in hostile fire pay / imminent danger pay / combat zone, ballot may be faxed using authorized channels. Marked ballots may not be e-mailed under Texas law, regardless of voter’s status.
In general, ballot must be received by Early Voting Clerk by 7:00 p.m. Election Day. If voters are voting from overseas location it must be received by 5th day after Election Day. If you are a member of the armed forces of the United States, or the spouse or a dependent of a member of the armed forces, members of the merchant marines of the United States, or the spouse or a dependent of a member of the merchant marine, your ballot must be received by the 6th day after Election Day.
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY
Polling places are open from 7am to 7pm on Election Day.
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 ID 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.
Acceptable forms of Photo ID are listed here
Here is a list of the 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:
For more information about Photo ID click here
COLLEGE STUDENT VOTERS
If you’re a student who spends several weeks or months a year in different locations but wants to vote in Texas, you’ll need to decide which place in Texas is the place you call “home,” i.e., where you intend to return after you’ve been away. If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may use that address as your registration address. If you would like to register to vote at your college address, you may do so, but you can’t be registered in both places.
Click here for more information
Provisional voting is designed to allow a voter whose name does not appear on the list of registered voters due to an administrative error to vote.
The provisional voting process requires the voter to visit the voter registrar’s office within six calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID OR if the voter does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo identification, execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and present one of the acceptable forms of supporting ID, OR, if applicable, submit one of the temporary affidavits (e.g., religious objection or natural disaster) OR, if applicable, qualify for a permanent disability exemption, in order for the provisional ballot to count.
Click here for more information
Deciding how to vote: https://votesmart.org/
Polling Place: Texas voter information website
Getting your vote counted: Texas voter rights
Problems with voting: Texas voter complaint form
FPCA Ballot Tracker: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/FPCA/index.aspx
Voters with Special Needs: Services Available to Voters with Special Needs in Texas
Voting Day: methods of voting in texas