There’s a fight playing out in both state and federal courts about just who is eligible to vote by mail in Texas. Democrats and voting rights advocates say the pandemic – and the danger of contracting the coronavirus by voting in person – means every Texas voter is eligible.
We’re still in the middle of that legal battle, but if you’re curious about how you would even go about voting by mail (or if you’re already eligible), here’s how it works.
Am I eligible to vote by mail?
The Texas Secretary of State says you must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for a mail-in ballot:
- you are 65 years or older;
- you are disabled;
- you will be out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
- you are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
If you meet one of these conditions, you can apply for a mail-in ballot.
How do I apply for a mail-in ballot?
Print this application, fill it out completely and mail, email or fax it to your county elections administrator.
If someone helps you fill it out, sign it or mail it, that person must complete Section 11, which requires information and a signature about that person.
Where do I send the application?
You can send the application by email, fax or mail to your county election administrator.
In Travis County, that's the county clerk, Dana DeBeauvoir:
P.O. Box 149325
Austin, Texas 78714-9325
You can also fax it to Travis County at (512) 854-9075.
Or, you can email a scanned copy of the application to eBBM@traviscountytx.gov.
If you live in another county, you can find the address, fax number and email address to send your application here.
IMPORTANT: If you fax or email your application, you MUST also mail in the original copy of the application — and it MUST be received by the county by the fourth business day after you emailed or faxed it.
What’s the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot?
You must apply for a mail-in ballot by the 11th day before an election — in this case, July 2. The county must receive your application by this date.
So, you’ve applied for a mail-in ballot. Congratulations! It’s not the easiest thing in the world. Now, you wait. If you submit an application now, you should get it within a couple weeks. It varies by county, though, so you may receive your ballot closer to Election Day elsewhere.
OK, now the good part.
Now, you vote! Make your selections on the ballot and return it to your county elections office.
It MUST be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day (July 14) if it’s not postmarked. If it is postmarked on or before Election Day, it must be received by 5 p.m. on the day after the election.
A few notes ...
We’ll have to see how the fights in the courts play out before we know who, if anyone else, will be eligible to vote by mail.
Also: There are some special circumstances if you’re in the military or overseas on Election Day. You can find those special rules here.
If you have a specific question or a unique situation, give the Secretary of State’s Elections division a call at 1-800-252-8683.