First-Time Voters
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First-Time Voters

Voting for the first time in Harris County is exciting. Here’s an easy guide to make sure you are all set to cast a ballot in the United States’ third largest county!

1. Check your Registration and/or Register to Vote

In Harris County, you can register to vote if you: 

- Are a resident of Harris County; 

- Will at least be 18 years old by Election Day; 

- Have NOT been declared partially/completely mentally incapacitated without the right to vote by a final judgement of a court;

- Have NOT been finally convicted of a felony. If you have been convicted, you must be fully discharged from the sentence– Commonly referred to as “off paper”; or been pardoned/released from the disability to vote. 

Meet those requirements? Great! Now it only takes minutes to register. Texas law requires that you print and then sign and date your application before mailing it to us at PO Box 3527, Houston, Texas 77253.

Double check your status and make sure your name and address are up-to-date! 

2. Find your Sample Ballot

Approximately 45 days before an election our office posts sample ballots to the Sample ballots are unique to your address and will show you all of the races and candidates that will be on your actual ballot. You can bring a printed sample ballot or handwritten notes into the voting booth for reference. Just be sure to take whatever you bring with you when you leave!

3. Find a Vote Center

Harris County voters can vote at any Early Voting or Election Day Vote Center in Harris County! Find a center close to work, near campus, across the street from your child’s daycare, wherever is most convenient for you.

4. Don’t forget your ID

Voters have to present one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID when voting in person:

- Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS

- Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS

- Texas Handgun License issued by DPS

- United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph

- United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph

- United States Passport (book or card)

Voters 18-69 years old can present one of these photo IDs even if it is expired, but no more than four years past the expiration date. Voters 70+ years old can present one of these photo IDs even if it is expired, no matter when the ID expired. U.S. Citizenship Certificates do not expire.

Voters who do not possess and cannot obtain one of these forms of photo ID may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID) at a Vote Center and present another form of ID, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or voter registration certificate.

5. Go Out and Vote!

Your registration is up to date, you researched your ballot, you selected a Vote Center, and you have your ID. Rally your friends and family and get out there to contribute to democracy!

Harris County uses VerityDuo machines during elections. You can watch this tutorial on how to use the machines so that you know exactly what to expect when you get to the Vote Center.
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