As voters try to navigate one of the biggest elections in modern history while navigating a deadly pandemic, the desire to learn more about low- or no-contact voting, such as mailing in a ballot or curbside voting, has exploded. While the mail-in ballot process has been the subject of massive media coverage and voter education efforts in Texas, less attention has been paid to curbside voting. But this method of voting offers a similar level of convenience and safety to mailing in a ballot, particularly for voters living with disabilities.
Here are the basics of curbside voting in Texas!
1. What is curbside voting?
If a voter can’t go into the polling place without assistance, or if they are likely to hurt themselves by trying, they can request a poll worker bring them a ballot at the polling place entrance or to a car parked at the curbside — the method is different in every county. Call your county Election Office to find out how your county operates.
2. How does it work?
Someone can go inside the polling place for the voter to tell them that a voter is waiting outside to vote curbside. After the voter marks the ballot, they will give it to the election officer, who will put it in the ballot box. Or, at the voter’s request, a companion may hand the voter a ballot and deposit it for him or her.
3. Can I Get assistance?
Yes! Curbside voters are also entitled to assistance while voting if they have a physical disability that prevents them from being able to write or see, or if they cannot read the ballot. Qualified voters can be assisted by anyone, except the voter’s boss, the voter’s union representatives, or anyone working on behalf of either of these people. The person assisting the voter can read the ballot to the voter, mark the ballot for the voter, and deposit the ballot for the voter.
You deserve to cast a ballot that counts and feel safe in doing so. Curbside voting is one of the options you have for safely making your voice heard, so make sure you consider it as you finalize your plan to vote.
Note that if you transport seven or more non-family-members to a polling place for curbside voting, you’ll have to fill out a form giving your name and address, and indicating whether you also provided help casting any ballots.
If you run into any issues, call us immediately at 866-OUR-VOTE or visit texaselectionprotection.org.
Ash is the digital coordinator at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Special thanks for the voting teams at TCRP for compiling this information.