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Here’s What You Need To Know About Voting In Harris County

Where to vote, when to vote and how to vote.

Early voting for the 2020 Texas primary starts Tuesday.

Update July 14, 2020: Super Tuesday is over — but July 14 is Election Day for the 2020 primary runoffs. Here’s what you should know.

When can you vote?

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.

Are you registered to vote?

If you haven’t already registered to vote, you’ve missed the cutoff for the primary. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to vote in November. Check your status with the Secretary of State, and make sure you’re registered by Oct. 5 to take part in the 2020 general election.

What’s a runoff?

If none of the candidates in a particular race reach the 50-percent vote threshold needed to declare victory, the top two candidates by vote total will head to a second round of voting called a runoff election, which takes place July 14 after being delayed from May due to COVID-19.

Who can you vote for?

Texas is an open-primary state, which means you can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, although not both. That means that now during the runoff, if you’ve already voted, you can only vote for the candidates in the party you chose on or in the lead-up to Election Day. For your own personalized ballot, check out Vote411, a project of the League of Women Voters.

Where’s your polling place? In Harris County, it’s anywhere.

Harris County voters have long been able to choose any polling place for early voting. But now, voters who wait until Super Tuesday will have the same options.

The Texas Secretary of State last year authorized Harris County to implement its Countywide Polling Place Program, making it possible for the county to establish non-precinct based Election Day Voting Centers. Those centers are similar to those already used by the county during early voting periods, and every site can be used, whether you’re a registered democrat or republican. To find your nearest polling site, click here.

You need to bring an ID

Texas passed a controversial voter ID law in 2011, which requires voters to present acceptable identification in order to vote in person in all Texas elections. There are seven acceptable forms of identification at the polls:

  1. Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety
  2. Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  3. Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  4. Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  5. United States Military Identification Card containing the person's photograph
  6. United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person's photograph
  7. United States Passport (book or card)

If you don’t have an acceptable form of ID handy, you can still vote by bringing certain forms of ID that can be presented if you “cannot reasonably obtain” one of the pre-approved forms, according to the Secretary of State:

  1. Copy or original of a government document that shows the voter's name and an address, including the voter's voter registration certificate
  2. Copy of or original current utility bill
  3. Copy of or original bank statement
  4. Copy of or original government check
  5. Copy of or original paycheck
  6. Copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter's identity (which may include a foreign birth document).

After presenting one of the forms of supporting ID listed above, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, available at every polling location, according to the Secretary of State. “Reasonable impediments” include lack of transportation, disability or illness, lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain acceptable photo ID, work schedule, family responsibilities, lost or stolen ID, or acceptable form of photo ID applied for but not received.

TEXAS NEWSROOM: Know Your Rights As A Voter In Texas (KUT)

Additional reporting by Davis Land

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Paul DeBenedetto

Senior Producer

Paul DeBenedetto is Houston Public Media's senior web producer, writing and editing stories for HoustonPublicMedia.org. Before joining the station, Paul worked as a web producer for the Houston Chronicle, and his work has appeared online and in print for the Chronicle, the New York Times, DNAinfo New York, and other...

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