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Early voting has started for the May 28 runoff elections

A roll of stickers that say "I'm so going to vote" on a table.
Julia Reihs
KUT News
Find out what's on your ballot, where to vote, what to bring with you and more in this guide.

Lee esta historia en español

Just like Austin's daily temps, election season has been ramping up these past few months. Following the main primary election on March 5, Texas voters will return to the polls May 28 to settle a few runoff races and finalize who will be on the ballot in the November general election.

A runoff election happens when no candidate gets a majority (50% plus one) of the vote. The two candidates with the most votes get to continue to the runoff.

A reminder: Texas has open primaries, which means you don't have to be registered with a party before voting — you just decide whether you want a Democratic or Republican primary ballot at the polls. You can't vote in both primaries, though. And since this is a runoff election, you have to stick with the choice you made back in March. If you didn't vote in March, you're starting from a blank slate and can choose either party's primary.

(If you're thinking we just had a different election, we did — on May 4. That was about local issues, like school board positions, property appraisals and Austin's city limits. No relation to this election.)

What's on the ballot?

A couple U.S. House races, judicial positions and a State Board of Education seat are up for a vote across the Austin area.

    Here are sample ballots for each county:

    You can also see a personalized ballot based on your address (plus information about the candidates) at VOTE411.

    Important dates

    • May 20 to May 24 — Early voting
    • May 17 — Deadline to submit a mail-in ballot application (received, not postmarked)
    • May 28 — Election Day

    Am I registered to vote?

    You can go to the Texas Secretary of State's website to check your registration anywhere in the state. If it turns out you're not registered, the deadline for this election has passed — but you can visit the Vote Texas site to learn how to register for future elections.

    When and where can I vote?

    You have to vote at a polling location in the county where you live.

    Early voting locations in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday, May 20 to Friday, May 24. A few Travis County polling places have extended hours on May 24.

    Find locations in Travis County below:

    You can check live wait times on the Travis County website.

      Find Williamson County voting locations on the county's website.

        Find Hays County voting locations on the county's website.

        What do I bring with me to the polls?

        Make sure to bring a photo ID when you vote. Acceptable forms of ID include:

        • Texas driver's license
        • Texas election identification certificate
        • Texas personal identification card
        • Texas handgun license
        • U.S. military identification card that includes your photograph
        • U.S. citizenship certificate that includes your photograph
        • U.S. passport 

          The ID can be expired for up to four years. If you're 70 or older, you can bring a photo ID that has been expired for any length of time. If you had trouble getting an ID, here are the alternatives you can bring to the polls:

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

          All of these documents can either be a copy or the original. If you use one of these, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.

          What not to do at the polls

          Remember that you can't use cellphones, cameras, computers or any kind of recording device within 100 feet of voting booths. If you were planning to have some notes on your phone, print them out instead.

          You also can't wear clothes or accessories relating to a candidate, political party or measure on the ballot.

          Voting by mail?

          In Texas, you can only vote by mail if you:

          • won't be in the county you're registered in during early voting and on Election Day
          • are sick or disabled
          • are expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day
          • are 65 or older on Election Day
          • are in prison or involuntary civil commitment, but are otherwise eligible

          The deadline for election officials to receive your mail-in ballot request is May 17. To vote by mail, print the “Application for Ballot by Mail” or submit an online request for it to be mailed to you. Fill out the required sections and sign your name with the date, then mail, fax, email or hand deliver the completed application to the early voting clerk in your county. (If you fax or email, you still have to mail in your original application within four business days.) You can visit the Texas Secretary of State website for more guidance.

          The Austin-area League of Women Voters has also put together a guide to voting by mail for Central Texas voters, which you can find on the organization's website.

          There are some extra deadlines you should keep in mind if you're voting by mail:

          • Postmarked: May 28 by 7 p.m.
          • Post received: May 29 by 5 p.m.
          • In-person received: May 28 by 7 p.m.

          Once you’ve returned your mail-in ballot, you can check its status on the Texas Secretary of State's website.

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