In-Person Voting in the November 8th Election
November 3, 2022
Voters are heading to the polls to cast their vote in the November 8th election! Here is a brief primer on what to know when casting your vote.
In general, the Texas Election Code is the source of law for Texas election procedures.
For more information, your county’s elections administrator office is a good point of contact for questions about voting in your area. The Texas Secretary of State (SOS)’s elections website VoteTexas.gov also has helpful information about various aspects of voting in Texas elections.
Jump to a topic:
When and Where to Vote | ID Requirements | What Not to Bring | Poll Watchers and Election Complaints
When and Where to Vote
When Can I Vote?
Chapter 41 of the Election Code sets out the dates and times for Texas general and special elections. Early voting procedures are in Chapter 85.
Voters can cast their votes during the early voting period, which runs from Monday, October 24th to Friday, November 4th, or on Election Day on Tuesday, November 8th.
Texans can vote between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M., with some exceptions:
- Certain polls with less than 50 qualified voters can close early if the number of ballots cast equals the number of qualified voters.
- If you are still in line to vote when the polls close, don’t leave! Voters who are waiting to vote at 7:00 P.M. can vote after the polls close, provided they are inside or waiting to enter the polling place.
Where Can I Vote?
Early voters can visit any polling location in their registered county to vote. See Chapter 85 for more details. You can find a list of locations to vote near you through the Texas Secretary of State’s My Voter Portal. Your county’s Early Voting Clerk will also have a list of polling places.
Election Day Voters
Voters who wait to vote on Election Day may need to check if their registered county participates in the Countywide Polling Place Program. A list of participating counties is on the SOS’s website.
- If your county does participate, you can vote at any polling place in the county.
- If they are not in this program, you will need to vote in your assigned precinct location. Check the My Voter Portal to find the polling place in your precinct.
Laws on election precincts and the number and location of polling places are in Chapter 42 and Chapter 43, respectively.
Do I Need an ID to Vote?
Voters will need to bring a photo ID in order to vote, with some exceptions. When you get to your polling location, you will need to show one of the required types of photo IDs.
Procedures for accepting voters, including required IDs for voting, are in Chapter 63. The required photo ID types are listed in Section 63.0101:
- A Texas Driver’s License
- Texas Personal Identification Card
- Texas Election Identification Certificate
- Texas License to Carry (LTC)
- U.S. Military Identification Card with photograph
- U.S Citizenship Certificate with photograph
- U.S Passport (book or card)
What if My ID is Expired?
If your ID is expired, don’t worry! Voters between the ages of 18-69 can present an expired ID to vote if it is not expired by more than 4 years. Voters over 70 can use a required ID that is expired for any length of time.
I Forgot My Photo ID. Can I Still Vote?
If you didn’t bring your photo ID with you, there are a few options available to you:
- You can leave and return with your photo ID to vote before the polls close.
- You can ask the election officials for what’s known as a "provisional ballot." To have your provisional ballot counted, you will need to return to your county’s voter registrar to show one of the acceptable forms of photo IDs listed above. You have up to 6 days after Election Day to do this.
What if I Don’t Have a Photo ID?
If you do not have a photo ID, you may still be able to vote. Section 63.001 acknowledges several reasons why a person would have a "reasonable impediment" to getting a photo ID:
- Lack of transportation
- Lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain a photo ID
- Photo ID has been lost or stolen
- Photo ID has been applied for but not received
- Work schedule
- A disability or illness
- Family responsibilities
If a voter does not have a photo ID for one of the above reasons, they can sign a reasonable impediment form at the polling place and present one of the following types of alternative forms of ID listed in Section 63.0101:
- A government document with your name and an address (like your voter registration certificate)
- A current utility bill
- A bank statement
- A current government check or paycheck
- A birth certificate
What Not to Bring
Can I Use My Phone While I Vote?
No. Election Code Section 61.014 bans the use of "wireless communication devices" like cell phones, cameras, computers, and sound recorders within 100 feet of the polling place. There are some exceptions:
- If a person is an election officer conducting their official duties
- If a person is an employee at the polling place location and is using the device for employment reasons
If you need to bring notes along to help you remember who to vote for, it’s best to bring written notes.
Can I Bring My Firearm?
No. Carrying a firearm at a polling location is prohibited under Texas Penal Code Section 46.03 (a)(2). Only peace officers and certain other law enforcement officials listed in Penal Code Section 46.15 are permitted to carry firearms at a polling location.
This is true even despite the recent changes in the law that allow the carry of handguns without a license to carry.
Can I Wear Election Gear Like Buttons or T-shirts to Vote?
No. Chapter 61 of the Election Code prohibits engaging in certain conduct that could influence voters within 100 feet of a polling place. This includes:
- Communicating to a voter "by word, sign, or gesture" how you would like them to vote
- Posting, using, or distributing political signs or literature
- Wearing a button, badge, t-shirt, hat, or other insignia in support of a candidate, measure, or party on the ballot
If you show up to the polls with a button or t-shirt for your candidate, election officials may ask you to remove it or cover it up.
Poll Watchers & Election Complaints
You may notice poll watchers at the polling place when you go to vote. Poll watchers are there to observe the election process and ensure its integrity. Laws governing poll watchers are in Chapter 33.
Poll watchers are appointed by a candidate, political party, or a specific-purpose political action committee. They must meet certain eligibility qualifications, go through a training program with the Texas SOS, and take an oath not to interfere in the voting process or harass voters.
A poll watcher can observe any activity at their designated location, including the delivery of election records and the securing of voting system equipment. Poll watchers are prohibited from the following activities:
- Being present at the voting station while a voter prepares a ballot
- Conversing with an election official about the election, except to point out an irregularity or violation of law
- Communicating in any way with a voter about the election
The Texas SOS’s Poll Watchers Guide has more information about the roles and responsibilities of poll watchers in Texas elections.
I Think My Voting Rights Were Violated. Who Can I Contact?
If someone tries to interfere with your right to vote or you think your rights have been violated in some way, there are several options for making a report:
- Make a report to the Texas Secretary of State by phone at 1-800-252-8683 or fill out their Election Complaint form
- Contact your local election official
- Call the United States Department of Justice’s Voting Section at 1-800-253-3931
- Call the Election Protection coalition at 1-888-839-8682. You can also reach out to them via text or chat
If you still have questions about voting procedures, head to our Voting in Texas guide for more info or reach out to us. Happy voting!