Travis County Voter Guide: Here's everything you need to know to vote this election
The Nov. 8 election is a big one. The governor is up for election, Austinites are choosing a new mayor, and there are some notable bonds on the ballot, including one to fund affordable housing projects in Austin.
Confronting a long list of races at the polls can be daunting. But you can find out what exactly will be on your ballot and decide who or what you’re voting for ahead of time.
Here’s what you need to know to vote in Travis County.
Am I registered to vote?
First, make sure you’re registered. Go here to verify your registration.
What’s on my ballot?
A few big statewide ones are:
- Lieutenant governor
- Attorney general
- Railroad commissioner
- Agriculture commissioner
Notable ones in Austin include:
- City Council members
- Austin ISD school bonds
- Affordable housing bond
- Austin Community College bond
But there are many more! To find out what exactly will be on your ballot and to read about each candidate, check out the League of Women Voters’ Vote 411 guide. Just input your address below and you’ll see a list of candidates and propositions that will appear on your ballot, along with information about each of them.
You can print out your own personalized ballot at VoteTravis.com. Just scroll down and enter your name and birthday. Then, hit “Look Me Up” and on the right, hit “View My Ballot.” You can mark it up and take it with you to the polls. You cannot, however, use your cellphone or another electronic device at the polling site.
Where and when can I vote?
On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, polling locations will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m. on Election Day, you cannot be denied a ballot. Voters can go to any polling place in the county.
Don’t forget your ID
Make sure to bring a photo ID. The ID should be up to date or can be 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 don’t have 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
- 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.
Voting by mail
If you’re a registered voter in Texas, you can vote by mail if you:
- will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
- are sick or disabled;
- are 65 or older on Election Day;
- are confined in jail, but eligible to vote; or
- are expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day.
Travis County residents can print and fill out an application to vote by mail here. The deadline to apply to vote by mail is Oct. 28.
When filling out a mail-in ballot, use black or blue ink and follow the instructions to deliver it on time. Make sure your county's elections office receives your ballot on or before Election Day. You can mail in your ballot or hand deliver the sealed envelope to the county elections office. You'll need to show ID if you go in person.
The League of Women Voters has put together a detailed guide to voting by mail for Central Texas voters here.
What you can and can’t bring to the polls
You can bring voting-day essentials like:
- Photo IDs
- Legal documents to use in absence of an ID
- Sample ballots
- Handwritten notes
You can't have materials regarding a candidate or political party within 100 feet or inside a polling center, and you can’t use these items within that perimeter:
- Any other device that can record sound or capture images
There will be markers signaling the 100-feet perimeter. Your phone should be on silent or turned off and put away.
What you can wear to the polls
Don’t wear clothing or accessories that support any candidate running in the election, a political party or a measure appearing on the ballot. That includes:
- T-shirts, sweaters or hoodies
People may wear things representing former candidates, presidents or any political figure that is not a part of the election.
Curbside voting is available for people with disabilities including hearing, vision and mobility impairments. Voters can ask an election officer to bring a ballot to their parked car in the designated curbside voting location. Voters with mobility limitations may ask an election officer for voting priority to avoid standing in line. The presiding election judge will decide if the priority is granted.
If you need help casting your ballot you are permitted to bring someone with you, including a translator.
Voters can apply for an emergency ballot due to sickness or disability, between the last day of early voting on Nov. 4 and 5 p.m. on Election Day. To qualify for the emergency ballot, the sickness or disability must originate on or after Oct. 27. Voters must have a certified doctor's note confirming the illness.
According to The Texas Tribune, the voter must designate a representative to submit the application and doctor's note in person to the county’s early voting clerk before 5 p.m. on Election Day. The ballot must be returned by the same representative before 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Voters may also apply for an emergency ballot due to a death in their immediate family that occurred on or after the fifth day before Election Day and causes them to be absent from their home county that day.
Download the application for an emergency ballot here.
Other voting resources:
- Meet the six candidates vying to be Austin's next mayor
- Here's where candidates for Austin mayor stand on three big issues
- Do you know who your Austin City Council member is? That seat may be up for election in November.
- Where candidates running for Austin City Council District 1 stand on three big issues
- Watch: Where candidates running for Austin City Council District 3 stand on three big issues
- Watch: Where candidates running for Austin City Council District 5 stand on three big issues
- Watch: Where candidates running for Austin City Council District 8 stand on three big issues
- Watch: Where candidates running for Austin City Council District 9 stand on three big issues
- Austin ISD has a big bond on the ballot. Here’s how it would impact schools if voters approve it.
- Five seats on the Austin ISD school board are up for election. These are the candidates.
- Pflugerville ISD has eight props on the ballot. Here's what they're all about.
- Lockhart ISD schools are bursting at the seams. A $71 million bond could help with overcrowding.
- Voters in Manor and Lago Vista are deciding whether to ax CapMetro
- Austin Community College has a $770 million bond on the ballot this election. Here's what's in it.
- Watch: Abbott and O'Rourke debate in only matchup ahead of November election