Election Division Knowledgebase

Next Election: December 12, 2020 - Joint Runoff Election
Early Voting: NOW
November 25, November 30 - December 8

Knowledgebase Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Voters need to bring an approved form of identification to vote at the polling location. Voters can find a list of the approved forms of voting identification at /VotingInfo?lang=en-US#IDs

A Declaration of Reasonable Impediment is a document that eligible registered voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification must complete and provide a supporting document to cast a regular ballot. /VotingInfo?lang=en-US#IDs

Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo ID or a supporting document have the option of voting via a Provisional Ballot. The Provisional Ballot must be cured within the 6 days following the election.

Yes. Voting equipment allows disable voters to vote independently. Voters physically unable to enter the polling location may also request to be allowed to vote at the “curbside” outside the polling location. /VotingInfo?lang=en-US#DisabledVoters

Yes. On the voter's request, the voter may be assisted by any person selected by the voter other than the voter's employer, an agent of the voter's employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs.

If a voter has a question while in the voting booth, the voter should press the help button on the eSlate and/or notify the Election Staff.

Wireless communication devices are prohibited within the polling location. The taking of photographs is prohibited within the polling location.

No. During the time a polling place is open for the conduct of voting, a person may not electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party in or within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter the building or structure in which the polling place is located.

The voting process is complete when the voter presses the red Cast Ballot button and sees the waving American flag on the screen.

The straight-party voting option (straight-ticket) will be NO LONGER available beginning in 2020 under a bill Governor Greg Abbott signed in 2017.

Early Voting In-person: Limited Ballot A registered voter in the state of Texas may qualify to vote a limited ballot at the main early voting site during the early voting period in a federal and state election. For more information see section 112.001 to 112.0012 of the Texas Election Code.

Early Voting By Personal Appearance means that a registered voter in Texas may vote prior to General Election Day during a period designated by state law.

Texas Election Code: Sec. 85.001. EARLY VOTING PERIOD.

General Election: During a General Election the period for early voting by personal appearance begins on the 17th day before Election Day and continues through the fourth day before Election Day, except as otherwise provided.

Runoff Election: The Early Voting Period for a special runoff election for the office of state senator or state representative or for a runoff primary election begins on the 10th day before election day.

If the date prescribed by Subsection (a) or (b) for beginning the period is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal state holiday, the early voting period begins on the next regular business day.

Any qualified voter may vote early by personal appearance. No reason is needed.

Any qualified voter may vote in person at the main early voting polling place or at any other designated early voting branch location during designated times. Click here to find Early Voting locations.

Early Voting by Personal Appearance was introduced in Texas in the mid-1990s to make voting more convenient for the citizenry. It also provides voters who may be away from the county of residence on Election Day the opportunity to vote in person.

By law, in counties with a population of 400,000 or more, the commissioners court has the authority to establish at least one early voting site at each state representative district.

Election Day polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Registered voters in Harris County are eligible to vote. To register or check the status of your registration click here.

Yes. It is not necessary to have voted in the Primary or Primary Runoff to vote in the General Election.

To view what contests will be on your ballot click here to view your sample ballot.

The straight-party voting option (straight-ticket) will be NO LONGER available beginning in 2020 under a bill Governor Greg Abbott signed in 2017.

In Texas, primary elections are conducted by the major political parties to determine their nominees for a given elective office in advance of a general election.

Any person that is registered to vote in Harris County may vote in either the Republican Primary Election or the Democratic Primary Election (NOT both). In Texas, a person must register to vote 30 days before Election Day, if never registered to vote.

Yes. It is not necessary to have voted in the Primary to vote in a Primary Runoff Election. However, during an election cycle, a voter that participated in a Primary Election may ONLY participate in the Primary Runoff Election of the Party in which the voter initially voted.

Typically, Federal, State and County contests appear on the Primary Election ballot. Political Parties may also offer nonbinding propositions.

No. In a Primary Election, all candidates are affiliated with the same major political party.

Straight Party voting is the practice of choosing the Straight Party option on the ballot and by this means casting a vote for all candidates of the same political party. This option is NOT available on a Primary Election ballot.

Please visit HarrisVotes.com/tracking to find out the status of your vote-by-mail application. For additional assistance, please call our Election Help Line at 713.755.6965.

You are eligible to Vote By Mail in Texas if:

  1. You are age 65 or older by Election Day, December 12, 2020;
  2. You will be outside of Harris County for all of the Early Voting period (November 25th - December 8th) and on Election Day (December 12rd);
  3. You are confined in jail but otherwise eligible to vote; or
  4. You have a disability.

Under Texas law, you qualify as having a disability if you are sick, pregnant, or if voting in person will create a likelihood of injury to your health.


The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that lack of immunity to COVID-19 can be considered as a factor in your decision as to whether voting in person will create a likelihood of injury to your health, but it cannot be the only factor. You do not qualify to vote by mail as “disabled” if you have a fear of contracting COVID-19 but are otherwise healthy. To qualify, you must have an accompanying physical condition. If you do not qualify as “disabled,” you may still qualify in one of the other categories (1-3 above).

You can apply to Vote by Mail at any time, but our office must receive (not just postmarked) your application by December 1st in order to send you a mail ballot for the December 12th Joint Runoff Election.


You can also drop off your application in-person to our temporary Election Administrator Office location at NRG (NRG Arena – Hall D, NRG Parkway, Houston, Texas 77054) and Harris County Election Harris County Administration Building (1001 Preston, Houston, Texas 77002).


Due to potential delays with the postal service, PLEASE DO NOT WAITAPPLY NOW!

Registered voters may obtain an application by:

You can check your voting status at Vote411.org.


To register to vote, there are currently two Texas organizations that will assist you with your registration remotely, Register2Vote.org and The League of Women Voters - Houston. Both of these organizations will supply you with a no contact, postage-paid voter registration card.

If you are 65 years of age or older, or have a disability, you can apply for an annual ballot – this means that your Vote by Mail option will be registered for that entire calendar year. You will need to reapply each calendar year for an annual Vote by Mail ballot.

Yes, you may receive assistance in completing and submitting your application from a friend or a relative. Your assistant MUST carefully review the instructions and complete the additional WITNESS/ASSISTANT section of the application.

An application to Vote by Mail can be submitted in any of the following manners:

  1. Regular residential mail via United States Postal Service;
  2. Common or contract carrier (e.g., personal courier, FedEx, UPS, or other contracted mail service); or
  3. Fax machine (713.755.4983) or e-mail (BBM@cco.hctx.net). If you choose this option, the Harris County Clerk’s office MUST receive your original, completed paper application by one of the above methods (1-3) within four (4) business days of your email or fax.

Domestic ballots will begin to be mailed out in early December or those who have submitted applications by that time. If you submit an application after mid-November, your ballot will be mailed out within seven (7) days of your application being received.


Voters outside the United States: Your ballots will be mailed on or before the 45th day before Election Day, or within seven (7) days of your application being received.

A completed mail ballot MUST be returned to the Harris County Election Administrator’s Office in the Official Carrier Envelope provided to you. It may be returned in any of the following manners:

  1. Regular residential mail via United States Postal Service;
    1. Ballot must be postmarked by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on December 14 (the first mail delivery day after Election Day)
    2. In-person drop off at Harris County Election Harris County Administration Building (1001 Preston, Houston, Texas 77002) on Election Day only from 7 am – 7 pm
    3. You must present an acceptable form of photo identification
    4. If a voter does not possess and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo identification, the voter may show a List B identification and complete a Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID)
    5. Only the voter may deliver their ballot in person
  2. Common or contract carrier; such as personal courier, or FedEx or UPS, or other contracted mail service
    1. Ballot must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day
    2. If the carrier provides receipt mark indicating a time before 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, it may be received by 5:00 p.m. on December 14 (the first mail delivery day after Election Day)

All ballots being returned in person must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you are overseas and returning your ballot through the mail or a common or contract carrier, our office must receive it by 5 P.M. on December 17 (five days after Election Day). If you are serving in the military and returning your ballot through the mail or a common or contract carrier, our office must receive it by 5 P.M. on December 18 (six days after Election Day).

Yes. All the votes you cast will be counted. You have the right to skip any measure or contest.

When your completed Vote by Mail ballot is received at our office, it goes through a rigorous validation system.


The Carrier Envelope is verified for signature authentication, logged, and securely stored. Your Vote by Mail ballot is not counted until voting centers close at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. At that time, all Vote by Mail ballots will be tabulated and submitted into the official record.

The voter’s signature on the Vote by Mail ballot return envelope is compared to the signature from your Vote by Mail application and/or your voter registration application to maintain voter integrity.

Your Vote by Mail ballot is counted when voting centers close at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. At that time, all Vote by Mail ballots will be tabulated and submitted into the official record. The total number of votes cast by mail are included in the final tally.

You may vote in person even if you applied for a Vote by Mail ballot, but you can only vote once. To vote in person, take your Vote by Mail ballot to a voting center to surrender it and receive a regular ballot. If you do not have the mail ballot with you, you may still vote in person using a provisional ballot.

If you have returned your completed Vote by Mail Ballot, you cannot vote in person to change your vote.

Yes, you will need two standard stamps when mailing your ballot ($1.10 total postage). If you do not have stamps, you may place your ballot in the mail without postage, and it will still be delivered to our office and counted.

Election Division Contact Us

Information is vital to accessing the voting process. For this reason, I encourage you to contact us if you have a question, need assistance or have a suggestion.