Vote by Mail

Texas mail-in ballots require voters to sign the outer envelope.
Charlie Pearce for The Texas Tribune

Texas election officials may continue rejecting mail-in ballots if they decide the signature on the ballot can't be verified, without notifying voters until after the election that their ballot wasn't counted, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

The Travis County Tax Office at 5501 Airport Blvd is now the only drive-thru location open for hand delivery of mail-in ballots in the county.
Amna Ijaz / The Texas Tribune

A Travis County judge on Thursday ruled that Texas counties can have multiple drop-off locations for hand delivery of absentee ballots, overriding Gov. Greg Abbott's recent directive limiting counties to one drop-off location. But it remains unclear if state District Judge Tim Sulak's decision will lead to the reopening of ballot drop-off locations that were shut down in Harris and Travis counties after Abbott's order.

Travis County residents line up to vote at the Southpark Meadows shopping center on the first day of early voting.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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About 11% of registered voters in Travis County voted by the first two days of early voting in Texas.

That’s more than 95,000 mail-in and in-person ballots cast, which is thousands more than what had been cast at this point during the 2016 presidential election.

A form voters must fill out to drop off a mail-in ballot.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Travis County election officials say they expect to receive 100,000 ballots by mail for the 2020 general election – about four times the usual number for an election like this. Here's how to make sure your ballot makes it through the process.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas counties are currently blocked from setting up multiple drop-off locations for absentee ballots heading into the Nov. 3 general election due to a temporary order from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The order came hours after top Texas officials on Saturday again sought to limit drop-off locations some voters use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A federal judge Friday ruled that Texas counties can have multiple drop-off locations for absentee ballots during the Nov. 3 general election, blocking the enforcement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order that sought to limit counties to just one such location.

Travis County set up four drop-off sites for mail-in ballots across the county.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas voters and voting rights groups are suing Gov. Greg Abbott in federal district court over his order limiting the number of hand-delivery sites for mail-in ballots.

The League of Women Voters helps people register to vote and apply for mail-in ballots, in North Austin in August.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Travis County officials say they plan to fight Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting the number of places where voters can hand deliver mail-in ballots.

Abbott announced the order Thursday, the same day local election officials opened the drop-off sites.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Officials at the United States Postal Service told members of Congress in Texas that voting groups are allowed to leave voter registration and absentee ballot applications at post offices.

An application to vote by mail.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Texas can keep its strict eligibility rules for voting by mail.

Election officials expect a deluge of mail-in ballots this November.
Charlie Pearce for The Texas Tribune

As Texas prepares for an expected deluge of mail-in votes in November, a federal judge has found that one facet of the state’s signature verification rules for those ballots is unconstitutional and must be reworked for the upcoming election.

A mail-in ballot application.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all its voters for the November election.

Shelly Brisbin/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

On Friday, a letter from the Texas secretary of state's office threatened legal action if the Harris County clerk – the official in charge of elections there – moves forward with plans to mail absentee voter applications to every voter in the county.  

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Officials with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas say their volunteers are no longer allowed to leave voter registration forms at U.S. post offices.

The post office on Sixth Street in East Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Travis County voters nervous about delays with the post office will be able to hand-deliver mail-in ballots or drop them off at drive-thru sites this fall, County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said Tuesday.

The House passed legislation on Saturday to infuse $25 billion into the Postal Service and block operational changes that Democrats fear could hobble mail-in voting in this November's election.

In a rare Saturday session, the House passed the measure by a vote of 257 to 150, with 26 Republicans siding with Democrats to approve the bill.

An extraordinarily high number of ballots — more than 550,000 — have been rejected in this year's presidential primaries, according to a new analysis by NPR.

That's far more than the 318,728 ballots rejected in the 2016 general election and has raised alarms about what might happen in November when tens of millions of more voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail, many for the first time.

Updated 7:50 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced he will suspend the controversial changes he instituted to the U.S. Postal Service until after the November election.

"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy said in a statement.

A U.S. Postal Service worker delivers mail in Austin in March.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Texans should prepare early if they want to vote by mail in the upcoming presidential election, voting groups say.

Texas officials were recently warned by the U.S. Postal Service about potential delays delivering mail-in ballots, so getting an early start is more important than ever.

Residents wear masks to vote in the runoff elections, at Joslin Elementary School last month.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Support for mail-in voting is soft among Texas Latinos, a key demographic in the upcoming elections, according to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions.

The poll, released on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, was commissioned by Latino groups SOMOS and UnidosUS.

A U.S. Postal Service worker delivers mail in Austin in March.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas is among the states the U.S. Postal Service has warned about potential problems with delivering mail-in ballots this fall.

Residential mailboxes
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that "lack of immunity" to the coronavirus is not a disability under state law that would qualify someone for a mail-in ballot. In the same ruling, the court acknowledged that county election clerks have no duty to question or investigate the disability of voters who claim it.

But if you’re curious about how you would even go about voting by mail (or if you’re eligible), here’s how it works.

The League of Women Voters of Texas says it's been hearing reports that voters have been getting their absentee ballots sent back to them after putting them in the mail.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Some Texans who voted by mail in recent weeks are getting their filled-out ballots sent back to them, according to the League of Women Voters of Texas.

A voter enters a polling place at the North Austin YMCA on March 3, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Some Travis County voters say they are missing races on their mail-in ballot for the July 14 primary runoff elections. The Travis County Clerk's Office says that's because they didn't read their mail-in ballot application closely.

A line of voters waits to cast ballots on Election Day.
Julia Reihs / KUT

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Early voting for Texas’ primary runoff begins Monday ahead of the July 14 election.

Local officials are urging voters to take extra precautions during in-person voting as COVID-19 cases have been rising in the state.

Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an initial bid by state Democrats to expand voting by mail to all Texas voters during the coronavirus pandemic.

A mail carrier wears a mask and gloves while delivering mail in March.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Travis County election officials are seeing record numbers of vote-by-mail applications ahead of the July 14 primary runoff.

According to the Travis County Elections Division, the office has received more than 28,000 applications so far.

President Trump has made it clear that he does not support allowing all registered voters access to mail ballots this fall, even during a pandemic. But he keeps changing his story about why he's opposed.

An application to vote-by-mail in Texas.
Trey Shaar / KUT

The Texas Democratic Party filed applications with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday asking justices to rule on whether the state should be forced to open up its vote-by-mail program during the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters wait in line to cast ballots at the ACC Highland campus on March 3.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is not letting Texas open its ballot-by-mail program during the coronavirus pandemic, while legal challenges move through the federal and state court system.

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