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Vote-by-mail in Texas: What you need to know

If you’ve been following Texas politics, then you’re more than likely familiar what’s been going on with vote by mail. The good news is that you can vote-by-mail, but to be eligible to vote by mail is what we’re going to outline today.

Don’t forget y’all, the last day to request your mail-in-ballot is Oct. 23! If you’ve already submitted your application or ballot and want to know the status of it, you’ll have to call your county.

Questions? Need to report a voting issue? Give us a call at 866-OUR-VOTE! While you’re here, check out these graphics we have in English and Spanish.

1. Can I vote by mail?

You can vote by mail if you are a registered voter and:

  1. 65 years or older

  2. Have a disability

  3. Confined in jail but eligible to vote

  4. Will be away from your home county during the entire in-person voting period (Oct. 13-30 and November 3)

You are eligible to vote by mail because of a disability if you have a sickness or physical condition that prevents you from voting in-person without likely needing personal assistance or injuring your health.

Unfortunately, the possibility of contracting COVID because of exposure doesn’t qualify as a disability. But you may consider aspects of your health and health history (that are physical conditions) to determine if voting in person during the pandemic may likely cause injury to your health, and therefore qualify you to vote-by-mail.

At the end of the day, only you can make the decision whether you have a disability and can therefore vote by mail. You do not need to explain the nature of your disability on the form to apply to vote by mail, just simply check the disability box on the form!

2. That sounds great, but what about submitting my application?

Applications to vote by mail can be submitted by mail. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 23 (received, not postmarked).

For voters in the United States, mail in ballots must be received by county election officials either by 7PM on Nov. 3 (if not postmarked) or 5PM on Nov. 4 (if postmarked by Election Day). Ballots from overseas and military voters will be counted if mailed by Election Day and received by Nov. 9.

You should mail your ballot back as soon as possible, and the US Postal Service recommends you do so at least a week before it is due.

3. I sent my application to vote By mail. When should I receive my ballot?

Counties should have started sending ballots no later than Oct. 4 to voters in the United States, and to military/overseas voters by Sept. 19. If you apply closer to Election Day, they will send a ballot within a week of receiving your application.

4. So I applied to vote by mail but I’ve decided to vote in-person. What do I do?

As long as you did not submit your vote by mail ballot, you can still vote in-person. If you change your mind about voting by mail, you can take your mail-in ballot to your polling site, and then you can vote a regular ballot.

If you don’t have your ballot, you can cast a provisional ballot in-person. Casting a provisional ballot requires written confirmation from you that you did not submit a mail-in ballot, and your ballot will be counted once the county determines your eligibility— and that you did not submit a mail-in ballot.

5. What if I have more questions?

First, you can contact your county elections office to ask detailed questions about your particular circumstances, such as whether you qualify to vote by mail, or the status of your application or ballot. But you can also call us anytime! Reach out to us at 866-OUR-VOTE, and don’t forget to download graphics for you to use to spread the word about vote-by-mail!

Julien is the election protection digital fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Special thanks to the TCRP Voting Rights team for compiling this information.

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