Many Texans vote early. Texas enables residents to vote in the days and weeks before an election to make the voting process more convenient and accessible. There are two ways to vote early: by showing up in person during the prescribed early voting period or by voting by mail.
Vote early in person.
Generally, early voting in person begins the 17th day before Election Day (if that’s a weekend, early voting starts on Monday) and ends the 4th day before election day. (EXCEPTION: Early voting for elections held in May starts the 12th day before Election Day and ends on the 4th day before Election Day.)
Vote at a location in your political subdivision that’s close to where you live or work. All other voting rules and procedures apply – e.g., eligibility and polling hours.
Vote early by mail.
You may vote early by mail if:
- You will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
- You are sick or disabled;
- You are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- You are confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
You can get a formal application for a ballot by mail from:
- The Secretary of State’s office
- The Early Voting Clerk in your county; or
- Download an application for a ballot by mail here. (PDF)
If you are voting early because of an expected absence, you may apply in person for a ballot by mail before the early “voting in person” period begins (usually the 17th day before the election).
If you are voting by mail because you are disabled or are 65 years of age or older, you may use a single application to request ballots by mail for all county elections in the calendar year. To do so, simply mark “Annual Application” on your application for a ballot by mail when selecting the election for which you are applying.
You can write your own application for a ballot by mail, as long as it contains:
- Your signature, or a witness’s signature if you cannot sign;
- Your name and the address at which you are registered to vote;
- The address to which the ballot is to be mailed;
- The election date and the election for which you are requesting a ballot, or a statement that you would like ballots for all county elections remaining in the calendar year, if you are eligible (for a primary election, you must state the political party’s primary in which you want to vote); and
- A reason why you are eligible to vote early by mail. To be eligible to vote early because you expect to be out of the county, your application must state the out-of-county address where you want your ballot mailed.
Your ballot by mail application must be sent to the Early Voting Clerk in the county where you are registered to vote. Below are the ballot by mail application periods for the 2016 Elections. Applications must be received (not postmarked) by last day of the application period. All applications to vote by mail must be received by the early voting clerk before the close of regular business or 12 noon, whichever is later. Applications to vote by mail must be submitted by mail, common or contract carrier, or fax.
- March 1, 2016 Primary Election: January 1, 2016 – February 19, 2016
- May 24, 2016 Primary Runoff Election: January 1, 2016 – May 13, 2016
- May 7, 2016 Limited Uniform Election: January 1, 2016 – April 26, 2016
- November 8, 2016 Uniform Election: January 1, 2016 – October 28, 2016
You may send in your application for a ballot by mail by:
- Regular mail;
- Common or contract carrier; or
- Fax (if a fax machine is available to the Early Voting Clerk)
The Early Voting Clerk must receive your marked ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day or by the 5th day after Election Day if your ballot is submitted from outside the United States.