How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Texas

Posted on 11/11/22 by Emily Paulin, Elissa Chudwin

En español | There have been several changes to voting in Texas because of a 2021 state law. If you meet the requirements to vote by mail, your ID is now required on mail-in ballot applications and ballot return envelopes, among other new rules. 

The 2022 midterms in Texas decided races for the U.S. House, state House and Senate, governor and several other state offices. The next statewide election is in 2024, with elections in some cities, including Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, in 2023.

  • Mail-in voting: Mail-in ballots (formerly called absentee ballots) are available only to registered voters who are 65 or older, are sick or have a disability, are incarcerated but otherwise eligible, or will be out of their home county during early voting or on Election Day.
  • Early in-person voting: Registered voters may vote ahead of the election at an early voting site in their county. Dates will be announced closer to an election.

  • Voting at the polls: An acceptable form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license or U.S. passport, is required to vote at the polls. Without a photo ID, you must complete a declaration and include an acceptable form of supporting ID
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A state law introduced in 2021 has changed voting in Texas, including:

  • A ban on drive-thru and 24-hour early voting.
  • Election officials are no longer allowed to send unsolicited vote-by-mail application forms to voters.
  • Mail-in-ballot voters must now provide ID on both the application and the return carrier envelope for their completed ballot.
  • Those who assist someone else in filling out a ballot at the polls must sign a form disclosing their relationship to the voter. They also must recite an oath stating that they did not pressure or coerce the voter into choosing them as their assistant.

Also, a 2021 redistricting plan has changed the boundaries of some state legislative and U.S. congressional districts. These changes may affect which candidates appear on your ballot. Note that lawsuits over the new districts are pending. Visit votetexas.gov for more information.

Register by mail or in person:

The voter registration form requires you to provide either your Texas driver’s license number, your state ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you don’t have one of those, you must indicate that on the form.

Check to see if you’re already registered at the state’s Am I Registered? webpage. Note that you must reregister if you move to a different county. You can update your address online through the secretary of state’s Voter Name and Address Changes portal.

Once registered, you’ll be mailed a voter registration certificate or card.

Texas primaries are open. Voters do not have to be registered as a member of a party to participate in its primary. You must, however, sign a pledge that declares you will not vote in another party’s primary in the same year.

Mail-in ballots (formerly called absentee ballots) are available only to voters who are 65 or older, are sick or have a disability, are incarcerated but otherwise eligible, or will be out of their home county on Election Day and during the early voting period.

Mail-in ballots can be requested by mail or in person.

  • By email or fax: If you think you may miss the deadline to submit your application for a mail-in ballot, you can email your application to your county’s early voting clerk — or fax it, if your county clerk has a fax machine. You must then also mail the original application so that the clerk receives it no later than the fourth business day after it was received via email or fax.

State law requires you to provide either your Texas driver’s license number, Texas personal ID number or election ID certificate number (which is different from your Voter Unique Identifier number) on your mail-in ballot application and the return carrier envelope for your voted ballot. If you have not been issued one of these numbers, you can submit the last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you require assistance to complete your mail-in ballot request form and/or mail-in ballot, your assister’s name, address and signature must be included on the request form and/or the carrier envelope used to return your ballot to the early voting clerk. Voters may not be assisted by their employer, an agent of their employer, or an officer or agent of their union.

Texas voters can deliver completed mail-in ballots only by mail or in person to their county’s early voting clerk. Drop boxes are not available.

Make sure the identifier you list on your return carrier envelope matches at least one of those on your voter registration record. Also note that not all Texas counties provide prepaid postage.

Check the status of your mail-in ballot as well as correct any missing or incorrect information identified by county election officials via the state’s official online Ballot by Mail Tracker.

Yes, you can cast your ballot at your local early voting site. Early voting locations and hours will be made available at the secretary of state’s web portal ahead of any statewide election. Hours may vary by county, but must occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Counties with more than 55,000 residents must have polls open for at least 12 hours each weekday during the second week of early voting. Drive-thru and 24-hour early voting are no longer permitted.

All polling places in Texas must be accessible for voters. If you require assistance to cast your ballot you may receive assistance from either a person of your choosing (aside from your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union) or from two election workers. Those who assist others must sign a form disclosing their relationship to the voter. They also must recite an oath stating they did not pressure or coerce the voter into choosing them as an assistant.

Voters who can't read English may use interpreters at the polls. If a voter is physically unable to enter a polling place, curbside voting is also available.

Yes. You must present one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID, which include a Texas driver’s license, an election identification certificate and a U.S. passport.

If you don’t have a photo ID you can fill out a declaration at your polling place, where you must also present one of the acceptable forms of supporting ID, such as a certified copy of a domestic birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check; or the voter registration certificate from your county voter registrar.

If you have an acceptable photo ID but don’t have it at your polling place, you can still vote a provisional ballot. You will have six days — until Monday, Nov. 14 — to present the acceptable ID to your county registrar or to process an exemption for your vote to count.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 11, 2022, with more information about voting in Texas.

    This story is provided by AARP Texas. Visit the AARP Texas page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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