Voting in Texas

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Texas permits early voting, but does not allow online voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting. Texas voters must present photo identification in order to vote on Election Day.

For full information about voting in Texas, contact the state election agency.


To vote in Texas, you must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • be a U.S. citizen;
  • be a resident of the county;
  • be 18 years old (you may register at 17 years and 10 months);
  • not a convicted felon (unless a person's sentence is completed, including any probation or parole)
  • not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law[2]

—Texas Secretary of State

When and where

Registration must be completed 28 days prior to the election. You can get a voter registration application "at your library, any government office, or download one" online. You will then be mailed a voter registration certificate or card with your name, address and precinct number.[3]

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of May 2015, Texas is one of 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration.

Voting on Election Day

Voter identification

See also: Voter identification laws by state

At polling places, every voter must present a Texas driver's license, a Texas Election Identification Certificate, a Texas personal identification card, a Texas concealed handgun license, a United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph, a United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph, or a United States passport.

Before Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was overturned on June 25, 2013, Texas's photo ID law, SB 14, required pre-clearance by the United States Department of Justice before taking effect. Pre-clearance was denied on March 13, 2012, and a lawsuit was subsequently filed by the state.[4][5] On August 30, 2012, a three-judge panel in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia unanimously struck down the voter ID law. The court ruled that the law would negatively impact minority voter turnout and impose strict burdens upon the poor.[6] The state filed a lawsuit against the ruling, and on December 17, 2012, a federal court deferred those proceedings until the United States Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of parts of the Voting Rights Act.[7] The Supreme Court overturned portions of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, which allowed the state's voter ID law to take immediate effect, as the state was no longer required to obtain pre-clearance for changes to election laws.[8] On August 22, 2013, the United States Department of Justice sued Texas over its voter ID law, using a different section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to claim that the law would result in "denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” On October 9, 2014, a federal judge struck down the law, ruling that it had been enacted "with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." An emergency application was filed with the United States Supreme Court, which ruled on October 20, 2014, that Texas could implement its voter ID law for the 2014 general election. This decision applied only to the 2014 general election. Decisions to determine the ultimate fate of the law are pending.[9][10][11][12][13]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Texas, all polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time.[14] Texas is divided between Central and Mountain time zones.

Primary voting

Texas is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Voters do not have to register with a party. At the primary, they may choose which party primary ballot to vote on, but in order to vote they must sign a pledge declaring they will not vote in another party's primary or convention that year.[15][16]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting


You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on Election Day because you:[17]

  • will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
  • are sick or disabled;
  • are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
  • are confined in jail.[2]

—Office of the Texas Secretary of State


To vote absentee a request must be received by county elections office no earlier than 30 days prior to the election and no later than close of business seven days prior to the election. The ballot must then be returned by close of polls on Election Day.[18]

Military and overseas voting

For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

Texas is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting begins the 17th day before an election and ends on the fourth day prior to Election Day.[19] The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.

Election policy ballot measures

Voting on
elections and campaigns
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Elections and campaigns on the ballot and List of Texas ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measures relating to election and campaign policy in Texas.

  1. Texas Appointment of Presidential Electors, Proposition 6 (2001)
  2. Texas Automatic Resignation from Office Amendment (2015)
  3. Texas Election of Railroad Commissioners, Proposition 2 (1894)
  4. Texas Elections With Unopposed Candidates, Proposition 18 (September 2003)
  5. Texas Elections for Assessor-Collector of Taxes, Proposition 3 (1954)
  6. Texas Elections for County Surveyors, Proposition 15 (1993)
  7. Texas Elections with Unopposed Candidates, Proposition 8 (September 2003)
  8. Texas Legislative Vacancies, Proposition 9 (2001)
  9. Texas Military Poll Tax Exemption, Proposition 1 (August 1945)
  10. Texas Military Voting Qualifications, Proposition 2 (1954)
  11. Texas Poll Tax, Proposition 7 (1966)
  12. Texas Poll Tax Payment, Proposition 1 (1902)
  13. Texas Poll Tax and Voter Registration, Proposition 1 (1963)
  14. Texas Poll Tax and Voter Registration, Proposition 4 (1949)
  15. Texas Qualifications to Vote on Bond Issues, Proposition 7 (1932)
  16. Texas State Debt Ballot Questions, Proposition 8 (1991)
  17. Texas Voter Qualifications, Proposition 1 (July 1921)
  18. Texas Voter Registration, Proposition 4 (August 1887)
  19. Texas Voter Registration, Proposition 4 (August 1891)
  20. Texas Voter and Election Constitutional Provisions, Proposition 3 (1975)
  21. Texas Voting Requirements, Proposition 2 (1896)
  22. Texas Voting Requirements, Proposition 8 (1966)
  23. Texas Voting in Different Precincts, Proposition 1 (July 1915)
  24. Texas Voting in the Armed Forces, Proposition 14 (1966)
  25. Texas Women's Right to Vote, Proposition 2 (May 1919)

Recent news

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See also

Elections in Texas

External links


  1. Texas Secretary of State, "Request for Voter Registration Applications," accessed June 10, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3., "ID Voter," accessed June 10, 2014
  4. Business Week, "Texas Photo-ID Law Vetted for Voter Bias in U.S. Trial," July 9, 2012
  5. Reuters, "Texas to test 1965 voting rights law in court," June 8, 2012
  6. The New York Times, "Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact," August 30, 2012
  7. Bloomberg, "Texas Voter ID Suit Put on Hold Till Supreme Court Rules," December 17, 2012
  8. The Dallas Morning News, "Texas voter ID law 'will take effect immediately,' says Attorney General Greg Abbott," June 25, 2013
  9. Governing, "Divided U.S. Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Voter ID," October 20, 2014
  10. The New York Times, "Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws in Wisconsin and Texas," October 9, 2014
  11. WP Politicis, "Justice Department sues Texas over voter ID law," August 22, 2013
  12. Texas Public Radio, "Federal Judge Denies Abbott’s Request To Move Voter ID Trial To After 2014 Election," December 2, 2013
  13. Brennan Center for Justice, "Texas Photo ID Trial," accessed September 16, 2014
  14., "Who, What, Where, When, How," accessed January 3, 2014
  15. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 2, 2014
  16. Texas Statutes, "Section 172.086," accessed January 3, 2014
  17., "FAQ," accessed December 16, 2013
  18., "Early Voting," accessed December 16, 2013
  19. Long Distance Voter, "Early Voting Rules: Delaware," accessed December 18, 2013