Early voting in Texas started Monday for the July 14 primary runoff elections. The runoffs were supposed to be in May, but were postponed because of the pandemic.
The CDC has some simple guidelines to follow to protect yourself from the coronavirus if you plan to vote in person.
Texas has open primaries, which means voters don't register with a party ahead of an election. Instead, voters choose which party's ballot they want at their polling place. They can't, however, vote in both the Republican and Democratic primaries in the same election.
Two things to keep in mind: If you voted in the March 3 primary, you MUST vote in the same party primary in the runoff. So if you voted in the Republican primary in March, you have to vote in the Republican primary runoff.
If you didn't vote in the March primary, you can vote in either party's runoff.
Here’s everything you need to know before you vote:
Make Sure You’re Registered
Go here to verify your registration anywhere in the state.
You must vote at a location in the county where you live. Check out this map of early voting locations in Travis County to find a location nearest you.
Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said voters who plan to vote in person should look into polling locations ahead of time; voters will not be able to cast ballots at grocery stores and there will be fewer voting sites overall because of the pandemic.
Polls are open June 29 until July 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Travis County, with the exception of closures on July 3 and 4 for Independence Day.
Don’t Forget An ID
Bring a photo ID that is up to date, or expired up to four years, to the polls. 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 just don’t have one, here are some alternatives:
You can use your voter registration certificate as your form of identification.
If you don’t have your registration card, you can bring any kind of official document – that’s anything that has your name and address on it — like a bank statement or utility bill. While you are at the voting location, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.
Some counties got new voting machines last year, so things might work a little differently if you haven't voted in a while. The new ones in Travis and Williamson counties print a marked paper ballot.
Voters must scan and drop the ballot into the ballot box before they leave the voting center or their vote won’t be counted.
“Your ballot is not a receipt,” DeBeauvoir said. “It’s not a souvenir. It’s a real ballot that goes in the ballot box.”
This election, DeBeauvoir says, there will be changes to help Travis County voters navigate the system, like improved signage, as well as an election worker making sure people don’t mistakenly walk away with their paper ballot still in hand.
Watch this video we made ahead of the election last November.
What’s On The Ballot?
Our voter guide outlines which candidates are on the ballots in counties in Central Texas.
Not sure which seats represent you? Find out here.