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Early voting: What's on the ballot, what to bring and where to vote

Early voting is getting underway for the May 1 elections.

HOUSTON — It’s that time again – early voting for the May 1 Election begins on Monday, April 19.

Here’s what you’ll need to know to make your vote count. Below is information straight from the state of Texas and individual counties in the Houston area.

Important election dates to know

  • First day to vote early: April 19
  • Last day to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked): April 20
  • Last day to receive ballot by mail: May 1 at 7 p.m. unless late-arriving deadline applies
  • Last day of early voting:  April 27
  • Election Day: May 1

Are you registered to vote?

To vote in Texas, you must first be registered. 

You can check online to see if you are currently registered to vote. 

The deadline to register to vote in the May 1 election has passed, but you should register so you can vote in future elections.

To register to vote in Texas for the first time, complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office. Here's how:

What to bring to the polling site to vote in Texas

You need to have a form of ID to cast your ballot at a polling location. Here is a list the state will accept:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • U.S. Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. Passport (book or card)

If you don't have any of the above listed forms of ID and can't get one, you can bring one of the following in order to execute a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration:"

  • Copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate
  • Copy of or original current utility bill
  • Copy of or original bank statement
  • Copy of or original government check
  • Copy of or original paycheck
  • 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)

How to request a mail-in ballot in Texas

To vote by mail in Texas, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be 65 years old or older
  • Be sick or have a disability
  • Be confined in jail but still eligible to vote
  • Be out of the county where they are registered on Election Day and during the entire early voting period 

According to Texas election code, a disability as an "illness or physical condition" that prevents a voter from appearing in person without personal assistance or the "likelihood of injuring the voter’s health." 

To apply for a mail-in ballot, you must send a application for ballot by mail to your county elections office. You can drop off applications in person before the start of early voting. They can also be sent in by fax or email, but the county must receive a hard copy within four business days.

You can print out your own application, contact your local elections office to receive one or request one from the secretary of state’s office. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Tuesday, April 20.

If you're serving in the military or are an overseas voter, click here for more information about voting. If you are a voter who has a disability, click here for more information about voting accessibility.

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Harris County early voting

See sample ballots and voting locations

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. On Monday, April 26, voting hours will be extended to 10 p.m. 

Voters can vote at any of the county's 23 Early Voting Centers, which can be found along with their wait times here. Drive-thru voting locations are also on the map, noted by the orange cars.

Voting by mail: Ballots must be requested by Tuesday, April 20. If you have a vote by mail ballot, send it or bring it to 1001 Preston Street, 4th floor. ID and signature needed. And you can't deliver a ballot for someone else.  Track your vote by mail ballot at HarrisVotes.com/Tracking

Curbside: Every early voting and Election Day location offers curbside voting for people with disabilities or limited mobility. Watch for the curbside buzzer. 

Fort Bend County early voting

See sample ballots

Below are early voting locations in Fort Bend County.

More Fort Bend County voting information

Montgomery County early voting

Early voting locations | Sample ballots | Montgomery Co. voting information

Galveston County early voting

Early voting locations | Sample ballots | Galveston Co. voting information

Brazoria County early voting

Early voting locations | Sample ballots | Brazoria Co. voting information

More county voting information: Chambers | Liberty | Matagorda | Polk | San Jacinto | Waller | Walker | Wharton