HOUSTON — You'll be hearing a lot about the November election in the coming weeks as the countdown to Election Day is in full force. There are several important local and state races on the ballot, along with the nationwide battles to determine which party will control Congress.
If you want your voice heard in this midterm election, there are some important dates and deadlines coming up soon that you need to add to your calendar.
- U.S. citizen
- Harris County resident
- At least 17 years and 10 months of age (To vote, you must be 18).
- Have not been declared totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction
- Haven't been convicted of a felony unless you've fully completed your sentence -- including parole or supervision and/or probation -- or been pardoned
Key dates for November election
Here are the key dates for the election.
Oct. 11: Last day to register to vote in November
Oct. 24: First day of early voting
Oct. 28: Application to apply for mail-in ballot must be received, not just postmarked.
Nov. 4: Last day of early voting
Nov. 8: Election Day; mail-in ballots must be received by 7 p.m. or by 5 p.m. on Nov. 9 if they are postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.
How do I check if I'm registered to vote?
Anyone can check their registration in less than two minutes at vote.org. All you need is your name, address, date of birth and email address. It's really that easy.
Specifically for Harris County, you can verify your voter registration information on HarrisVotes.org. Simply click on "Voter Registration," then select "Voter Registration Search." By inputting your name or address, you can find your voter registration record.
How to get a voter registration application
There are a few options to get an application to register to vote. If you've moved, you need to register in the county where you currently live at least 30 days before Election Day to vote in that county.
You can get an application from Harris County by emailing email@example.com. You need to include a mailing address and phone number in your email. For ballots in English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Chinese, you can also call 713-274-8200.
For other counties, check your local election website (links posted below) or request an application from the Texas election website.
If you're not sure you're registered you can check the Texas Secretary of State's website.
Who can vote by mail in Texas?
If you plan to vote by mail, you must meet certain criteria to qualify.
- You are 65 years or older on Election Day
- You are sick or disabled
- You will be out of Harris County during the early voting period and on Election Day
- You are expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day.
- You are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible
During the March Primary, nearly 7,000 mail-in ballots were rejected. The numbers were better in May, but in November, more people are likely to vote.
The Harris County Elections Office says changes were made to make the process easier and hopefully cut back on the number of rejected ballots.
While the county is trying to simplify the process, the state has made it more difficult, according to Director of Communications and Voter Outreach at Harris County Elections Leah Shah said.
“You’re now required to fill out a Texas ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. That was not previously a requirement," Shah said.
If you have any questions about the mail-in ballot process click here.
Voter ID requirements
If you've confirmed you are registered, but don't have or never received your voter registration card, here's what you need to know. Under Texas law, voters can use one of the seven acceptable forms of photo identification at the polls when voting in person.
- Texas driver's 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 ID card with photo
- United States citizenship certificate with photo
- United States passport (book or card)
Voters who don't have and can't "reasonably obtain" one of the seven approved forms of photo ID may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID) (PDF) at the polls and present an alternative form of ID, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check or a voter registration certificate.
Sample ballots and polling places
Fort Bend County
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