Election 2020

Early Voting Has Begun In Harris County. Here’s What You Need To Know

A map of polling places, voter ID rules, a sample ballot, and more information you need for the 2020 general election.

In this June 29, file photo, Harris County election clerk Nora Martinez, left, helps a voter, in Houston. Texas is one of only a few states that has not moved to expand mail-in voting in November over pandemic fears.

This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2020 general election.

Tuesday is the first day of early voting in Texas, and polls open at 7 a.m. in Harris County.

Harris County now allows voters to cast their ballot at any polling place across the county.

Polls are typically open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. through Oct. 30, but hours may differ based on the day.

The last day to apply for a ballot by mail — received, not postmarked — is Oct. 23.

Here's everything you need to know about voting early.

Early Voting Polling Locations

Harris County has 10 early voting locations that offer drive-thru, and seven locations open for 24 hours on Oct. 29. See the map below for more details. For information on wait times, head to HarrisVotes.com.

Sample Harris County Ballot

Are you registered to vote?

If you haven't already registered to vote, you've missed the cutoff. Check your status with the Secretary of State.

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.

Mail-In/Absentee Voting

A completed mail ballot must be returned to the Harris County Clerk's Office in the Official Carrier Envelope provided.

It must be received by the early voting clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on the next business day after Election Day. If not postmarked, the early voting clerk must receive these ballots by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. There is some flexibility for Military voters and citizens abroad.

You can drop off your ballot in-person at NRG Arena (1 NRG Parkway, Houston, TX 77054).

You can track your mail-in ballot here.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that COVID-19 concerns do not qualify you for an absentee ballot.

For more information about mail-in ballots, click here.

Additional reporting by Paul DeBenedetto.

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