What is OUT to Vote Early?
OUT to Vote Early is a non-partisan initiative designed to educate and excite people about the importance of early voting in this November’s election. By asking local organizations, businesses, groups, and individuals to commit to voting early, we’re hoping to make voting safe, healthy, and effective for all.
Before we even get into that, I need to register to vote and/or check the status of my registration and/or change my address.
Okay, got it. So, what’s early voting?
Early voting is one of the advantages to being a Texas voter! Before each and every Election Day, our county election commissions open select polling places around each county. Voting during the early voting period couldn’t be easier or more convenient! Registered and eligible voters may vote at ANY early voting location located in the county of residence. Whether you are at home, work or out running errands, you will be able to find a polling place near you.
This year’s Early Voting days are Oct. 13-30, Monday-Saturday (no Sundays).
Early voting locations will be populated on the site “My Voter Page” two days prior to the first day of early voting. You may want to contact the Early Voting Clerk for State and County Elections in your county for early voting locations. Also, many newspapers publish early voting polling locations.
Note: Polling place hours vary at each early voting location.
Why would I want to vote during Early Vote? Election Day is a special day for me and my family!
We completely understand! The feeling of voting all together on Election Day is a special one for sure. But we also know that not everyone has the work/life flexibility to vote on a Tuesday. Early voting gives everyone more options – including on Saturdays – to cast their ballot.
But wait, there’s more. Early voting also provides an easy alternative for voters who do not cherish the experience of waiting in long lines or stressing out about making it to their polling place before it closes. More options for voters mean shorter lines, an in-and-out voting experience, and the relief that comes from knowing you already did your part.
Cool. But why are y’all pushing early voting so hard this year?
Short answer: Because of COVID. We know that given the requirements of social distancing and voting machine sanitation – not to mention the shortage of poll workers due to many of them being in a COVID-vulnerable age group – Election Day has the potential to be more chaotic than ever before. Long lines deter voters. Health concerns deter voters. Chaos deters voters. But if we get everyone spread out across 14 days of voting instead of just one? The process becomes safe, healthy, and effective for all!
Also, Texas is not immune to natural disasters. While it might be unlikely, our great state experiences tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods. Any of these could destroy or shut a polling place on November 3rd.
I’m really worried about my health during the pandemic - why should I vote early instead of just voting by mail?
Good question. To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:
- be 65 years or older;
- be disabled;
- be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
- be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
If you do not qualify, we suggest using your county’s COVID safety precautions, choose a slow time at the polls and vote early.
Even if you are eligible to vote by mail, you may find it less stressful and more secure to get Out to Vote Early in person.
I am eligible. How do I submit an Application for Ballot by Mail (“ABBM”):
- Go to www.votetexas.gov. Click on Application for Ballot by Mail
- Print (PDF) the ABBM form
- OR submit an order online and an ABBM will be mailed to you.
- Complete Sections 1 through 8.
- Sign and Date Section 10.
- If you were unable to sign the application and someone witnessed your signature, that person must complete Section 11.
- If someone helped you complete the application or mailed the application for you, that person must complete Section 11.
- Affix postage.
a. If you printed the application, you must place it in your own envelope and add postage.
b. If you ordered the application online and it was mailed to you – fold the application in half, moisten top tab, seal, and add postage.
- Address and mail the completed ABBM to the Early Voting Clerk in your county as soon as possible. You may also fax the application if a fax machine is available in the early voting clerk’s office. You also have the option of submitting a scanned copy of the completed and signed application to the Early Voting Clerk via email. If an ABBM is faxed or emailed, then the original, hard copy of the application MUST be mailed and received by the early voting clerk no later than the 4th business day.
a. The Early Voting Clerk is the County Clerk or Elections Administrator for your county
b. Contact information, including mailing addresses, fax numbers if available, and email addresses for the Early Voting Clerks are available on this website.
NOTICE: DO NOT MAIL, FAX, OR EMAIL COMPLETED APPLICATIONS FOR BALLOT BY MAIL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE. ALL APPLICATIONS RECEIVED BY THEIR OFFICE WILL BE REJECTED.
Military and overseas voters are welcome to use the regular registration and early voting by mail process available to all voters away from their home county on Election Day. However, there are also special provisions for military and overseas voters.
For more information, please read the Early Voting in Texas pamphlet.
Despite you screaming at me to hurry, I tend to take my time. What’s the deadline to get this done?
All applications for Ballot by Mail must be received by October 23rd. But remember that you still must 1) receive your ballot and 2) return your ballot by mail, and we all know the USPS is just a little more overworked these days, so please, PLEASE, use the U.S. Postal Service recommendation of at least 15 days out. If you haven’t requested your ABBM by Oct. 6th, our advice is to get yourself a hardcore mask, some comfortable shoes, and join us in voting early.
I’m in. How do I participate?
What if I want to get crazy and want to become a poll worker? I know there’s a shortage. Also my 16 year old cousin wants to help.
You’re amazing! Learn more about being a poll worker and sign up with your county election commission. And good news for your cousin – people as young as 16 can now be poll workers in some Texas counties as part of the Student Election Worker Program.
How You Can Vote
Absentee Voting (Vote by Mail):
In person Early Voting:
- Early voting period: Tuesday, October 13 – Friday, October 30.
- Find your early voting polling location here.
In person Election Day:
- Election Day: Tuesday, November 3
- Polls will be open from 7am – 7pm CST
- Find your Election Day polling location here.
Tuesday, September 1
National Poll Worker Recruitment Day
(Check your county to find deadline to apply to become a poll worker for early voting)
Tuesday, September 22
National Register to Vote Day
Monday, October 5
Voter Registration Deadline
Wednesday, October 13
Early Voting Begins
Friday, October 23
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
Thursday, October 30
Early Voting Ends
Tuesday, November 3