What you need to know about early voting

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Here's what you need to know about early voting
With one week left for early voting, here's what you need to know if you haven't crossed off 'vote early' from your to-do list.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas voters will head to the polls starting today for early voting. Here's an overview of what you need to know about casting a ballot in this year's election.

Early voting runs from Oct. 13 - 30.

This is the full schedule:

  • Oct. 13-17: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 18: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 19-24: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 25: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 26: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 27-29: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Oct. 29: 24-hour polling at seven locations starting at 7 a.m.
  • Oct. 30: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You can visit the Harris County website for a map with wait times.

Harris County had only one in-person drop-off location for mail-in ballots on Monday, which was at NRG Arena. The clerk's office told Eyewitness News they will maintain this site as the only site until they receive further orders from the court.

Before you head to the polls, you can also check out a Sample Ballot from harrisvotes.com.

READ MORE: Texas counties can have multiple absentee ballot drop-off locations, federal judge says, blocking Gov. Greg Abbott's order

The last day to apply for a mail-in-ballot is Oct. 23. The deadline for mail-in ballots to be returned to the county is Nov. 3.

SEE RELATED: How to request a vote-by-mail ballot in Texas

When do I need to drop off or mail an application?

Applications can be dropped off in person at your county elections office before the start of early voting. Mailed applications must be received by the early voting clerk in your county by Oct. 23.

When do I need to mail my ballot by?

The deadline for mail-in ballots to be returned to the county is Election Day, which is Nov. 3. If they're postmarked by 7 p.m. that day, they'll be counted if they're received by the county on Nov. 4 by 5 p.m.

The U.S. Postal Service recommends that Texans ask for mail-in ballots no later than 15 days ahead of that due date and that they drop completed ballots in the mail a week before the deadline.

For this election, absentee ballots can also be delivered to the county clerk's office in person with a valid form of ID as soon as they're completed and before the close of voting on Election Day. You should reach out to your county to find out when and where your county is allowing ballot drop-offs.

Completed ballots from military or overseas voters are accepted if they're received by Nov. 9. (Those voters go through a different ballot request and return process.)

Where am I allowed to vote early?

Voters can cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote. Early voting locations can be found on the Texas secretary of state's website two days before early voting begins.

View the full list of locations on the Harris Votes website and you can also check wait times.

You can also view the list as a PDF.

Who is eligible to vote early?

Anyone who is registered to vote may vote early, but it must be done in person unless you qualify to vote by mail.

How can I find which polling places are near me?

The secretary of state's website has information on polling locations for Election Day and during the early voting period. 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 driver's license that has your name and photo on it
  • 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

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 identification:

  • A valid voter registration certificate
  • A certified birth certificate
  • A document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which 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.)

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.


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