How does primary voting work?
Primary elections are used to designate who will be a party’s candidate in the general election in each race, so you’ll be selecting among members of the same party in casting your vote.
At the polls, you’ll have to choose whether you want to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. Some counties will host what’s known as a joint primary, which means everyone checks in at the same desk and uses the same voting machines. In other counties, there will be separate check-in stations and lines for either party.
How can I find which polling places are near me?
County election offices are supposed to post on their websites information on polling locations for Election Day and during the early-voting period by Feb. 13. The secretary of state’s website will also have information on polling locations closer to the start of voting. However, polling locations may change, so be sure to check your county’s election website before going to vote.
What form of ID do I need to bring?
You’ll need one of seven types of valid photo ID to vote in Texas:
- A state driver’s license (issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety).
- A Texas election identification certificate (issued by DPS).
- A Texas personal identification card (issued by DPS).
- A Texas license to carry a handgun (issued by DPS).
- A U.S. military ID card with a personal photo.
- A U.S. citizenship certificate with a personal photo.
- A U.S. passport.
Check out this story for more details.
What if I don’t have a valid photo ID?
Voters can still cast votes if they sign a form swearing that they have a “reasonable impediment” from obtaining a proper photo ID. However, those voters will also have to present one of the following types of supporting identification documents:
- A valid voter registration certificate.
- A certified birth certificate.
- A document confirming birth admissible in a court of law that establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document).
- A copy of or an original current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the voter’s name and address. (Any government document that contains a voter’s photo must be an original.)
If you have a valid photo ID but forgot it, you can cast a provisional ballot but will have to visit the local voter registrar’s office within six days of the election to present an acceptable ID or documentation in order for the ballot to be counted. A registered voter without a valid photo ID or any of the supporting documents can also cast a provisional ballot.
Are there rules at the polls?
Cellphones, cameras, computers and other devices that can record sound or images cannot be used within 100 feet of voting stations (where ballots are marked). There are usually traffic cones or signs indicating this. Campaigning, including wearing clothing or other items that publicize candidates, political parties or measures on the ballot, is also banned beyond this point.
Voters are allowed to use written notes to cast their ballot at the discretion of election officers, who may determine if the material counts as campaigning.
Firearms, including handguns, are also prohibited at polling places, according to Texas law.
What are my rights as a voter?
If a registered voter’s name does not appear on the list of registered voters because of an administrative issue, they have the right to cast a provisional ballot. Voters are entitled to get written instructions about how to cast a ballot or to ask a polling place officer or worker (but not about who or what to vote for). If a voter makes a mistake while marking their ballot, they have a right to use up to two additional ballots to make corrections. Voters generally have the right to cast their ballots in secret and should not be subject to intimidation.
Voters with disabilities or limited English proficiency can also get interpretation, assistance or accommodations to vote. A state law passed in 2023 also allows voters with disabilities or mobility problems to skip the line at their polling location and requires each polling location to have a designated parking spot for curbside voting.
Texas law says voters have the right to vote during work hours without being penalized or losing pay, but this may not apply if a worker has two hours before or after work to go vote.
On Election Day, voters have the right to cast their ballot as long as they’re in line by 7 p.m. At the polls, voters can talk to election officers or poll workers if they run into issues.
The secretary of state’s office has a helpline at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683) to reach state attorneys available to assist voters and election officials with questions.
A coalition of voting rights groups runs voter protection hotlines in several languages. Disability Rights Texas also offers a helpline for people with disabilities.
What if I was planning to vote in person, but I have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If you have contracted COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms, consider requesting an emergency early voting ballot or using curbside voting.
Emergency ballot: These ballots can be requested if you become sick or disabled close to an election and are unable to go to a polling place on Election Day. To qualify, you must designate a representative to submit an application in person on your behalf and have a certified doctor’s note. The application must be received by your county’s early voting clerk before 5 p.m. on Election Day.
Your ballot must be returned by the same designated representative before 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Contact your county elections office for more details about an emergency early-voting ballot due to sickness or disability.
Curbside voting: You can also contact your county elections office to determine if you’re eligible for curbside voting, which must be made available at every polling place for voters with disabilities unable to enter a polling location.