Nearly 400K vote-by-mail applications sent to Harris Co. seniors ahead of election

Friday, June 12, 2020
What Harris County voters can expect in upcoming runoff election
National outcries for change have sparked a renewed emphasis on voting, and Harris County is just weeks away from the next opportunity to cast your ballot. ABC13 reporter Shelley Childers explains the latest in the video above.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The fight to allow all Texas voters to cast a ballot by mail, in light of a pandemic, rages on.

As it stands on Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that not having immunity to coronavirus does factor as part of a disability.

Newly appointed Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins explained saying, "a perfectly healthy person who simply has a fear of contracting COVID-19, that on its own is not enough, but it is up to the determination of the voter themselves."

He continued saying, "If you check any of those boxes for eligibility, we process that and send you a ballot, and by the way, the application doesn't ask you to explain your disability or explain any of the other circumstances. You're simply checking a box."

Hollins believes voting by mail is the safest way to vote at the moment.

He said the county clerk's office sent out nearly 400,000 mail-in-ballot applications to Harris County voters who are 65 and older.

"We want our seniors to be safe, and so we took that proactive step of sending mail ballot applications to all of our seniors in Harris County," said Hollins.

In the state of Texas, you can vote by mail if you are 65 and older, are sick or disabled or will be out of the county on Election Day.

"If you do determine that you're eligible, whether for disability or for any other categories, our office doesn't have the authority or resources to investigate that, so it's our responsibility if you submit that application, and check an eligible box, that we process that application and send you a ballot."

If you plan to vote in the upcoming runoff on July 14, there are some important dates to remember for mail-in-ballots.

You must apply for a ballot by July 2. That means going online to, printing out the form and mailing it in.

After receiving and filling out a ballot, you must mail it in by Election Day.

The county clerk's office must receive it by July 15.

"Because of the delays that the post office is seeing, we strongly recommend that you get that ballot out fairly quickly after receiving it and don't wait until Election Day," said Hollins.

He said they've already seen a 25 percent increase in applications for mail-in-ballots, compared to the primary election in March.

Other important dates to remember for the July runoff:

  • Monday, June 15, is the last day to register to vote.
  • Early voting happens from June 20 to July 10.
  • Polls will be closed on July 3 and 4.
  • Election Day is July 14.

In Texas, you can vote at any polling location during early voting.

In Fort Bend and Harris counties, you can also vote at any location on Election Day.