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Politics

Election Day Is Today. Here's Everything Travis County Voters Need To Know.

The first day of early voting at Southpark Meadows shopping center in South Austin on Oct. 13.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
The first day of early voting at Southpark Meadows shopping center in South Austin on Oct. 13.

Lee esta historia en español. 

Election Day is Tuesday. In addition to the presidential election, Travis County voters have the chance to weigh in on a number of local and state races. Those in Austin have some transportation measures to decide as well.

The runup to the election has been contentious (and litigious) to say the least. Several governor’s orders and court decisions regarding mail-in ballots and straight-ticket voting came down just weeks before the start of early voting. And with pandemic protocols in place, voting at the polls — and where the polls are located — looks different this year. 

To help clear up any confusion, here’s everything Travis County voters need to know to vote in 2020. (Find Williamson County voter information here and Hays County information here. Don't live in these counties? Go to VoteTexas.gov for everything you need to know.)

Make Sure You’re Registered.

Go here to verify your registration anywhere in the state. The deadline to register to vote in Texas has already passed.

Got A Mail-In Ballot?

If you've already mailed in your ballot, you can check the status on the VoteTravis.com website. Just scroll down to “Voter Lookup” and enter your information. Then, hit “BBM Status,” which stands for ballot-by-mail status. It will then tell you if the county has received your ballot.

If you haven't mailed your ballot in yet, it's too late to rely on the Postal Service. You should either hand deliver your ballot at the drop-off site or surrender it at the polls and vote in person. 

You can deliver your mail-in ballot during these times:

  • Nov. 2: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 3: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You’ll have to show ID and sign a signature roster before depositing your ballot into a ballot box. You can only drop off your own ballot, not anyone else’s. 
If you applied for a mail-in ballot but didn't receive it, you can go to the polls and ask for a provisional ballot. 
 
Voting In Person? Here’s Where You Can Go.

Some of your go-to voting locations, like grocery stores, aren’t going to be used as polling sites this fall because of the pandemic. 

Election Day voting locations are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Remember: You can vote after polls close as long as you’re in line by 7 p.m.

Don’t Forget Your ID.

Whether you’re voting in person or dropping off your mail-in ballot, make sure to bring a photo ID. The ID should be up to date or expired up to four years. Voters 70 or older can bring a photo ID that has been expired for any length of time. 

If you had trouble getting an ID and can’t get one, here are some alternatives:

  • government document showing your name and an address, such as your voter registration certificate
  • current utility bill
  • bank statement
  • government check
  • paycheck
  • birth certificate

If you use one of these, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.
Wear A Mask! And Other COVID-19 Precautions To Take:

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, local officials are asking voters to do the following:

  • Wash your hands before and after voting. Hand sanitizer will be available at the polling places.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • Make sure you don’t feel sick before going to vote in person.
  • Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others.

Voters will be given finger coverings and wooden sticks so they don’t have to directly touch the voting machines.
Watch this video from the Travis County Clerk's Office to learn more about the sanitation precautions that will be in place:

Leave The Campaign Masks And T-Shirts At Home.

According to Texas’ election code, you can’t “electioneer” within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place, which includes “the posting, use or distribution of political signs or literature.” That means you can’t wear clothing or accessories — including face masks — that show support for or against a candidate, ballot measure or political party. 

The offense is a class C misdemeanor. But if you forget, a poll worker will likely tell you to cover up or turn your campaign shirt inside out.

Know How The Voting Machines Work.

If you haven’t voted in Travis County before or if it’s been a while, you may not be familiar with the voting machines. Watch this video we made ahead of the elections last November.

Remember: Straight-ticket voting won’t be a thing this election. A federal appeals court on Sept. 30 upheld a 2017 state law ending the practice. So, you won’t be able to select every candidate of a political party with one click.

Know Who And What You’re Voting For.

To help you remember who you want to vote for, you can print your own ballot, make selections and bring it with you to the polls.

We’ve put together some voter guides to help you learn more about who and what is on the ballot in Austin and Travis County.

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