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Here’s how to vote in Texas’ May 4 local elections

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April 4 was the last day to register to vote and to submit an address change for the midterm election.

How do I check if I’m registered to vote?

You can check to see if you’re registered and verify your information through the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

You’ll need one of the following three combinations to log in:

  • Your Texas driver’s license number and date of birth.
  • Your first and last names, date of birth and county you reside in.
  • Your date of birth and Voter Unique Identifier, which appears on your voter registration certificate.

Generally, if you registered to vote in a previous election, you remain registered, but there are various reasons why you may want to verify your registration status. For example, you will need to update your registration after a name or address change.

What if I moved after the voter registration deadline?

You must reside in a Texas county or political subdivision by the voter registration deadline to vote in the upcoming election unless you qualify for absentee voting. You can read more about absentee and mail-in voting here.

For elections with more than one polling place, you may be able to vote at your previous polling location if you moved within the same county or political subdivision. If there are elections you would qualify to vote in at both polling locations, you may be able to vote at your new location on a limited ballot. But limited ballots are available only during early voting at the “main early voting polling place”, which should be noted on the county or political subdivision’s list of early voting locations.

Is it too late to register for future elections?

In Texas, eligible voters – U.S. citizens in Texas who will be 18 or older by election day – must complete and submit a paper voter registration application within 30 days of an election day. Then you can participate in upcoming elections.

During the May 28 Republican and Democratic primary runoffs, voters in state or federal districts where no candidate received more than half of the votes during the March primaries will vote for their party’s final candidates . The winning candidates during the runoffs will then move onto the Nov. 5 general election. During the general election, voters can cast a ballot for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation.

If you want to register to vote in future elections, you can get a voter registration application by:

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  • Requesting a postage-paid application through the mail or find one at your local county’s voter registration office and some post offices, government offices, or high schools
  • Printing out an online application, which can be downloaded here
  • Registering to vote through the Texas Department of Public Safety while renewing your driver’s license. You may be able to register to vote online if you’re also allowed to renew your license online. This is the only form of online registration in the state

Applications must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline. The voter registration deadline for the primary runoffs is April 29, and the deadline for the general election is Oct. 7. You can check to see if any runoffs are being held in your state and federal districts by going here.

After you register to vote, you will receive a voter registration certificate within 30 days.

People experiencing homelessness can vote, as long as they provide on their registration an address and description for where they are residing, such as a shelter or a street intersection. If needed, their mailing address can be different, but a P.O. Box address is usually not considered a residence address.

What does it mean if my voter registration is in “suspense”?

If a county receives a non-deliverable notice after sending a voter registration certificate or suspects an address change, a voter is placed on a “suspense list” and asked to confirm their address. Voters on the suspense list can still vote if they update or confirm their address before the voter registration deadline for an election or fill out a “statement of residence” when voting. They may have to vote at their previous polling location or vote on a limited ballot. If no action is taken by a suspended voter, they are removed from the voter rolls after about four years, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

Federal law prevents the state from removing registered voters within 90 days of a federal election unless the voter has died, been convicted of a felony or been declared mentally incapacitated.

If you’re concerned about your voter registration, you can verify it online here.

What do I do if I run into issues with my voter registration?

If you have questions or concerns about your registration, you can find your county’s voter registration contact here.

Inside polling locations, there are typically “resolution desks” where poll workers can address registration issues.

You can also find more information on frequently asked questions from the secretary of state’s office at votetexas.gov.

April 23 is the last day to apply to vote by mail.

This option is limited in Texas. Read more about who qualifies here.

When do I need to drop off or mail an application?

Applications must be received by the early voting clerk in your county — not postmarked — by April 23. Applications can also be submitted by fax or email, but the county must receive a hard copy within four business days. They can also be dropped off in person.

You can download an application here or request an application to be mailed to you here.

If you’re looking to vote by mail, give yourself as much leeway as possible. You’ll need to account for the time it will take your county to get your ballot to you in the mail after you apply.

What is the deadline to mail my ballot?

The deadline for mail-in ballots to be returned to the county is election day, May 4. If a ballot is postmarked by 7 p.m. locally that day, it’ll be counted if the county receives it by 5 p.m. on May 6.

Absentee ballots can also be delivered to the county elections office in person with a valid form of ID while polls are open on election day.

Completed ballots from military or overseas voters are accepted if they’re received by May 9. (Military and overseas voters can go through a different ballot request and return process.)

Read more about vote-by-mail requirements in this section.

Early voting in person runs from April 22-30. If you can’t vote inside of a polling place because of COVID-19 or a disability, curbside voting may be available to you. Read more about what qualifies as a disability and about curbside voting options here.

Election day is May 4.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.

What dates do I need to know for possible runoffs?

For any May 4 elections where no candidate receives a majority of votes, runoffs will take place on June 15. The last day to register or update your voter registration for the runoffs will be May 16. Applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk in your county — not postmarked — by June 4. Early voting is scheduled from June 3-11.

Credit: by María Méndez and Yuriko Schumacher, Texas Tribune

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