Are you eligible to vote by mail?
Every Texas citizen aged 65 or older may vote by mail. Many under 65 during this pandemic with any physical condition creating a likelihood of injuring their health at the polls may vote too. With COVID-19 infections and deaths surging, stay-at-home orders, and a fall flu season ahead, you should not have to choose between your vote and your health.
Your sound health and constitutional right to vote: Not an either-or choice
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has said, “If a voter has a condition such as asthma, diabetes, any other kind of immunocompromised system, if the voter has comorbidities, all of those are going to be included in the voter’s judgment about asking for a ballot by mail.” "If the voter swears to it, it's the voter's prerogative and the voter's right and there isn't any way for us to reject it on the basis of disability," she said. Texas placed in the hands of the voter the determination of whether in-person voting will cause a likelihood of injury due to a physical condition.
In an interview in September, Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said:
“The statute leaves this decision up to the individual...You can’t ask them. There is no form they have to fill out, they don’t have to swear to it, don’t have to sign anything; all they have to do is say, ‘I want (a mail-in ballot) because in my view I need one.’”
Common conditions that put one at risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19
A few such conditions to consider in determining whether to request to vote-by-mail include: asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, serious heart conditions, cancer, sickle cell disease, chronic kidney disease, pregnancy, and smoking. If you are not able to vote safely, you may for purposes of voting by mail, have a "disability.” Texas law defines "disability" as "a physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing … on election day without a likelihood … of injuring the voter's health."
It is up to you to decide whether to check the box claiming a disability, Box 5. You do not need to write anything on the application regarding the condition upon which you rely.
When should I apply?
Don’t delay! Those who apply now may have the opportunity to be the first to vote by getting their ballots possibly as early as September. And after voting in the comfort of your home, return your ballot promptly, though you have plenty of time, even if the post office may be a bit slower.
The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that lack of immunity to the coronavirus alone is not enough to qualify. But it’s up to you to decide if you should vote by mail because of an additional physical condition, such as above, which could endanger health.
Vote by Mail FAQ
Where can I find the vote-by-mail application online?
Am I eligible to vote by mail?
The requirements to vote by mail given by the Texas Secretary of State are as follows:
- be 65 years or older;
- be disabled ( an individual with “sickness or physical condition” that prevents a voter from appearing in person without the risk of “injuring the voter’s health.”);
- 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.
When should I submit my application to vote-by-mail?
Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. Your application can take up to 30 days to be processed. The sooner your application is submitted, the sooner you may receive it, as soon as the end of September.
Some counties will be providing drop-off locations for mail-in ballots. The locations will be provided on your county’s election website.
How do I check to see if I am registered to vote?
To check your voter registration status, visit Am I Registered?
You will need one of these pieces of identification to check your voter registration status:
- Your VUID. Your VUID can be found on your voter registration certificate;
- Your Texas Drivers License number if you used it to apply to vote;
- Or your first and last name and date of birth.
If I am worried about my ballot arriving on time due to delays in the USPS, what should I do?
To ensure that your ballot is counted, send off your ballot as soon as you have received it and filled it out. The sooner it is sent in, the sooner it will have time be processed by your county’s election office.
Texas counties will also be providing drop-off locations for those who wish to submit their mail-in ballots in person rather than send them through postal mail.
You must provide a valid photo ID to drop off your ballot. If you are over the age of 70, you are allowed to use an expired driver's license.
When should I expect to receive my ballot by mail?
Times will vary depending on which county you live in. Some counties have announced that they will be sending ballots out as soon as late-September.
I received a vote by mail ballot for the July primaries. Does this mean I don’t need to apply again for the November election?
This depends on whether you applied for vote by mail ballots for all future elections in your original application.
To ensure that you will receive a mail-in ballot for the upcoming November election, contact your county elections department to verify your status.
I received an application in the mail to apply for vote by mail but I am already registered. Does that mean I need to register again?
Several groups are sending out applications to voters. You may receive one even if you have already applied. Call your elections office to verify if you are unsure.
If you have already applied to vote by mail, you may consider giving the application to a friend or family member.
Can I verify whether my application to vote-by-mail has been received or my ballot has been mailed to me?
Yes, contact your local elections department to verify the status of your application or ballot.
What do I do if I don’t receive my ballot by Election Day?
You can vote provisionally at any Early Voting or Election Day location.
2020 General Election Timeline for Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Presidential Joint General and Special Elections:
Monday, October 5: Last day to register to vote
Tuesday, October 13: First day of early voting in person
Friday, October 30: Last day to vote in-person
Tuesday, November 3: Election Day
For more information, email or call my office, or contact your county’s elections department.
103 S. Frio St., Suite 200
San Antonio, TX 78207-6328
712 South Stagecoach TrailSuite 1012
San Marcos, TX 78666-5999
24-hour voting hotline: (512) 238-8683
5501 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751-1410
1403 Blackjack Street, Suite C
Lockhart, TX 78644
301 SE Inner Loop Ste 104
Georgetown, TX 78626