Here’s what to know before you go to the polls on Election Day

Have questions about your voter registration, where to cast your ballot or how to do so as a voter with a disability? We have some answers.

By Shelly BrisbinNovember 8, 2022 10:07 am,

Today is Election Day – your final opportunity to make your voice heard in races ranging from governor to county judge, Congress to the statehouse. Here are some basic things to know about how Election Day voting works in Texas.

Who can vote in this election?

You must be registered to vote in Texas. The registration deadline for this election has passed. If you’re unsure about your registration status, start at the Secretary of State’s site. You can look up your registration, verify in what county and precinct you are registered to vote and make sure your information is accurate. Some counties also have this information on their websites.

How can people find out where they can vote today?

Head to your county’s election website. This is important since some counties require you to vote in your home precinct, while others, including Harris, Travis and El Paso, use countywide voting centers. You can also find sample ballots at these election sites, and printed versions at your polling place.

» TEXAS ELECTION DAY 2022: Check back tonight for live election results for statewide races

What kind of identification do you need to vote?

Texas voters can use one of seven forms of ID:

– Texas driver license

– DPS-issued ID card

– Texas election ID certificate

– Texas handgun license

– U.S. citizenship certificate

– Military ID

– U.S. passport (book or card)

If you don’t have the required ID, you can use what’s called a supportive form of ID, like a utility bill or pay stub. You’ll need to fill out a form at the polling place, in that case.

If you think there might be a problem with your voter registration, is it possible to address the issue today, and will you be able to vote?

Because it’s Election Day, you’ll need to resolve any issues at your polling place. Most voting locations have a “resolutions desk.” A poll worker will help you with the issue and can contact the county elections office to resolve it so that you can vote. Updates to your information, like a new address or a name change, can often be sorted out this way. But, if the issue can’t be resolved immediately, you can cast a provisional ballot. You will vote as you normally would, and within 30 days of the election, officials must notify you by mail whether your ballot has been accepted.

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Some people who are eligible to vote by mail haven’t been able to do so. If you either didn’t receive a ballot, or haven’t mailed it in, is it possible to vote today?

Yes. First, you can use the state’s vote-by-mail tracker to verify the status of your absentee ballot. If you didn’t receive a ballot in the mail or your request for one was rejected, you can go to your polling place and cast a ballot in person. If you have a mail-in ballot that you haven’t sent in, you have two options: You can deliver it to your county election office before the polls close today – you’ll need ID to do this, and you can only submit your own ballot – or you can take your absentee ballot to your polling place and surrender it. It won’t be counted, but you will then be able to vote in person instead.

Many voters with disabilities might be wondering what options there are for casting a ballot accessibly. What should voters with disabilities know about their options?

Texas law includes several provisions addressing the needs of voters with disabilities, and county elections’ offices often provide assistance. Many counties offer curbside voting for voters who are unable to enter a polling place without risk of injury. You’ll need to check with the county election office to see if this option is offered, and where it’s available. A poll worker will bring a ballot to your car, and you can complete the process there.

Whether you’re a curbside voter or not, you can receive assistance casting a ballot. You can be assisted by anyone you choose who is not your employer or a union representative. Election workers may also assist, at your request.

Most, but not all, voting equipment includes some accessibility features. If you’re visually impaired, for example, you can use the device with audio and a pair of headphones, or with magnified or high-contrast text. If you’re uncertain what accessibility features are available, ask if poll workers have been trained to assist with accessible voting options.

» TEXAS ELECTION DAY 2022: Here’s what to watch for as voters head to the polls

We’ve heard a lot about poll watchers, since the legislature passed SB 1 – the new election law – last year. What should voters know about poll watchers, and what should a voter do if they experience an issue with one?

Poll watchers are allowed to observe voting from anywhere within the polling place. They must identify themselves and their organizational affiliation to election workers. They can observe workers and the voting process, but aren’t allowed to interfere with voting. If you have an issue, speak with the presiding election official present.

What are today’s voting hours?

Polls are open until 7 p.m. local time statewide. Remembering that if you are in line when polls close, you will be able to vote – so be sure you arrive on time, and be prepared to wait, if you want to be sure to cast your ballot.

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