IS EARLY VOTING?
A. In Texas, voters may choose between
two kinds of early voting (formerly "absentee voting"):
1. early voting by personal appearance,
2. and early voting by mail.
Voting early in person is now basically
the same as voting on election day. To vote early by mail,
a voter must state one of several
CONDUCTS EARLY VOTING?
A. Early voting is conducted by
the early voting clerk. Different people can serve as the early
voting clerk depending on the type of election being held:
The county clerk is the early voting
1. a primary election;
2. a special election ordered
by the Governor;
3. the general election for state
and county officers; and,
4. any other countywide election
that is held at county expense.
In a less-than-countywide election
ordered by a county authority and held at county expense, the
county clerk is the early voting clerk, unless another person
is appointed by the county authority.
In an election ordered by a county
authority and not held at county expense, the authority ordering
the election shall appoint the early voting clerk.
The city secretary is the early
voting clerk for an election ordered by an authority of the city.
The early voting clerk for all
other types of elections is appointed by the authority ordering
You may find answers to questions
about places and hours for early voting by contacting the early
voting clerk's office or the administrative offices of the political
subdivision conducting the election.
IS EARLY VOTING CONDUCTED?
A. Early voting must be conducted
for all elections. In most elections, early voting by personal
appearance begins 14 to 17 days before election day and ends on
the 4th day before election day.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE
If you are a qualified voter,
you may vote early by personal appearance. No reason is needed.
2. By Mail:
If you are a qualified voter,
you may vote early by mail if:
you will be absent from your
county on election day and during the period to vote early in
you are disabled;
you are 65 years of age or older
on election day; or,
you are confined in jail as you await trial and have not been finally convicted of a felony.
HOW DO I VOTE EARLY?
To vote early by personal appearance,
you must vote in person at the main early voting polling place
or at any other designated early voting branch location during
2. By Mail:
If you are eligible to vote early
by mail, you must submit an application for a ballot to the
early voting clerk: on or after the 60th day before election
day: and, before the close of business on the 7th day before
Applications for a ballot by mail
are available from the early voting clerk or the Secretary of
You are not required to use an official
application form, as long as your application in writing includes:
your signature (or a witness' signature if you cannot sign); the
name in and address at which you are registered to vote; the address
to which the ballot is to be mailed (only if different from the
address at which you are registered, as shown on your voter registration
card); a description of the election for which you are requesting
a ballot (for a primary election, you must state in which political
party's primary you wish to vote); and, a reason why you are eligible
to vote early by mail (to be eligible to vote early due to expected
absence from the county, your application must give an out-of-county
How to submit an Application:
If you are voting early by mail,
you must: send your application by regular mail or by common or
contract carrier; submit the application by fax if you are outside
of the county and if a fax machine is available at the early voting
clerk's office; or Submit the application in person.
NOTE: This option may be used only
before early voting by personal appearance begins.
Deadline for Return of Marked Ballot:
The marked ballot must be returned
to the early voting clerk before 7 p.m. on election day, and must
be returned by mail or by common or contract carrier.
IF I BECOME ILL OR DISABLED AND CAN'T GO TO THE POLLING PLACE ON
A. If you:
1. become ill or disabled on or
after the day before the final day for applying to vote by mail;
2. you won't be able to go to
the polling place on election day, you may send an application
for a late early ballot by a representative who:
is 18 years of age or older;
is not employed by or related
to any candidate on the ballot by blood or marriage;
has not served in the election
as a representative for another applicant.
The application must have all of
the same information as a regular application for an early ballot.
A certificate issued by a licensed doctor, chiropractor, or accredited
Christian Science Practitioner must also be included. The certificate
must state that a sickness or disability happened on or after
the day before the final day for submitting an application by
mail which would prevent the voter from appearing at the polling
place on election day without the possibility of needing personal
assistance or of injuring his/her health. The certificate must
also state the date that your disability occurred.
Your application for late voting
due to a disability must be submitted to the early voting clerk:
after the last day of the period
for voting early in person; and,
before 2 p.m. on election day.
The clerk will then review your
application and give your representative a ballot to deliver to
you. The ballot must be returned in its original carrier envelope
to the early voting clerk before 7 p.m. on election day by the
same person who delivered the ballot to the voter.
Forms are available from the Office
of the Secretary of State or from your county clerk.
IF THERE IS A DEATH IN MY FAMILY AND I WON'T BE IN TOWN ON ELECTION
A. If anyone related to you within
the second degree by blood or marriage dies on or after the fifth
day before election day, and as a result, you must be absent from
your county on election day, you may vote late.
Your application must be in the
form of an affidavit.
Your application must contain the
same information as a regular application for a ballot by mail,
as well as the day of the family member's death and a statement
of your relationship to the family member.
WHAT IS A FEDERAL POST
A. The Federal Post Card Application
(FPCA) is a form provided by federal law to permit members of the
U.S. armed forces and merchant marines, their dependents, and U.S.
citizens abroad to vote early by mail and, if necessary, to temporarily
register to vote.
You are eligible to vote early with
an FPCA if you are qualified to vote in Texas and you are: a member
of the U.S. armed forces or a spouse or dependent of one; a member
of the U.S. merchant marines or a spouse or dependent of one; a
U.S. citizen domiciled in Texas but temporarily living outside the
territorial limits of the United States; or a U.S. citizen residing
abroad who was last domiciled in Texas immediately prior to leaving
the U.S. (persons in this category are no longer residents of Texas
and therefore may vote only for federal offices).
An FPCA must be submitted to the early voting clerk by mail or common
contract carrier. It may be submitted: any time during the calendar year
and it will be valid for a period of one calendar year. The application
must be submitted to the early voting clerk before the close of business
on the 7th day before election day. A single FPCA may be used to request
ballots for all elections held by a particular authority (county, city,
school district, etc.) through a period of one calendar year. However, if
you wish to vote in the elections of more than
one authority, you must submit a separate FPCA to each authority's
early voting clerk.
An applicant who wishes to vote in
a primary election must state a political party preference for early
voting ballots for both the first and second primary (runoff) elections
to be sent.
While an FPCA may be used temporarily
to register applicants for the elections for which they are requesting
ballots, the FPCA may not be used as an application for permanent
voter registration. Therefore, FPCA applicants who are residents
of Texas are encouraged permanently to register to vote by using
the regular postage-paid registration application which is available
from your county voter registrar or from the Secretary of State's
office. You may continue to use the FPCA, irrespective of whether
you are permanently registered.
FPCA's may be obtained by eligible
voters from voting assistance officers within their branch of service,
from a U.S. consulate or embassy, or from the Voting Assistance
Program of the Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. 20301.