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Home | News | Election Center: Vote2018 | Early Voting Starts Today: Here’s What Texas Voters Should Know
Photo courtesy Marjorie Kamys Cotera | Texas Tribune

Early Voting Starts Today: Here’s What Texas Voters Should Know

On Nov. 6, Texas voters will decide who will hold several statewide, legislative and congressional seats.

To help Texans navigate Election Day, we’ve compiled an overview of everything you need to know about casting a ballot in the 2018 midterms. (And no, you still can’t take a selfie at the polls.)

Whom do I get to vote for?

Your representatives

Aside from statewide races decided by all Texans, who you get to vote for depends on where you live. On the federal level, Texans are divided among 36 U.S. House districts. On the state level, your address determines your district — and who represents you — in the Texas House, the Texas Senate and on the State Board of Education. All U.S. House and Texas House districts are up for election this year, but only half of Texas Senate and State Board of Education seats are on the ballot.

If you share your address above, we can show you the 2018 general election candidates for each of your districts. Otherwise, you can view our roundup of all the candidates here.

Your statewide candidates

Fourteen of the races on all Texans’ general election ballots this year will be for statewide positions. This includes the race to decide who — in addition to John Cornyn — will represent the state in the U.S. Senate. Seven statewide races include executive positions such as governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and six are for the state’s two highest courts — the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

U.S. Senate

CANDIDATES
D Beto O’Rourke
L Neal Dikeman
R Ted Cruz Incumbent

Governor

CANDIDATES
D Lupe Valdez
L Mark Tippetts
R Greg Abbott Incumbent

Lieutenant Governor

CANDIDATES
D Mike Collier
L Kerry McKennon
R Dan Patrick Incumbent

Attorney General

CANDIDATES
D Justin Nelson
L Michael Ray Harris
R Ken Paxton Incumbent

Comptroller

CANDIDATES
D Joi Chevalier
L Ben Sanders
R Glenn Hegar Incumbent

Land Commissioner

CANDIDATES
D Miguel Suazo
L Matt Piña
R George P. Bush Incumbent

Agriculture Commissioner

CANDIDATES
D Kim Olson
L Richard Carpenter
R Sid Miller Incumbent

Railroad Commissioner

CANDIDATES
D Roman McAllen
L Mike Wright
R Christi Craddick Incumbent

Texas Supreme Court, Place 2

CANDIDATES
D Steven Kirkland
R Jimmy Blacklock Incumbent

Texas Supreme Court, Place 4

CANDIDATES
D R.K. Sandill
R John Devine Incumbent

Texas Supreme Court, Place 6

CANDIDATES
D Kathy Cheng
R Jeff Brown Incumbent

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 1

CANDIDATES
D Maria T. (Terri) Jackson
L William Bryan Strange III
R Sharon Keller Incumbent

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 7

CANDIDATES
D Ramona Franklin
R Barbara Parker Hervey Incumbent

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8

CANDIDATES
L Mark Ash
R Michelle Slaughter

Your local candidates

You might have noticed that we’ve not said anything about elections for local positions such as sheriff. Because local elections are administered at the county level, there’s no statewide listing of all local races. The Texas secretary of state’s office maintains a list of county websites you can reference to learn more about what is on the ballot locally. Your local newspapers or TV stations might also have candidate listings.

What dates do I need to know?

The last day to register to vote was 

Is there a way to confirm whether I’m registered to vote?

Yes, there is! You can check your registration status on the Texas secretary of state’s website by using one of these three ways to log on:

  • Providing your Texas driver’s license number and date of birth
  • Providing your first and last name and what county you reside in
  • Providing your date of birth and Voter Unique Identifier (VUID), which appears on your voter registration certificate.

How can I register to vote?

Texans can fill out an application in person at their county voter registrar’s office. Most post offices, libraries and high schools also provide the necessary applications needed to cast a ballot. Texans can also print out the application online or request it through the mail.

However, keep in mind that registering online is not an option in Texas. Mailed applications must be postmarked on or before the Oct. 9 deadline.

The last day to apply for ballot by mail is 

How do I know if I’m eligible to vote by mail?

You are only allowed to vote by mail for one of the following four reasons:

  • You will not be in your county on Nov. 6 (Election Day) and not in your county during the entire span of early voting
  • You are sick or disabled
  • You will be 65 years old or older by Election Day
  • You are confined in jail but otherwise eligible (i.e., not convicted of a felony).

Eligible Texans who want to vote by mail have two options: They can mail in their ballot — postmarked by Election Day and received by 5 p.m. the day after the election — or they can give their ballot directly to an early voting clerk.

Early voting runs from  through (Begins today!)

Where am I allowed to vote early?

You can find early voting locations at the same website that allows you to check whether you are registered to vote. Unlike on Election Day, you are allowed to vote early at any polling location in the countyyou are registered to vote in.

Who is eligible to vote early?

Anyone who is registered to vote may vote early. However, you must do so in person. Only certain voters can mail in their ballots.

Election Day is 

Are polling locations the same on Election Day as they are during early voting?

No, they are not. That’s why it’s important to find your polling locations ahead of time. While a few counties might have exceptions, you may be allowed to vote only in your designated precinct.

What do I need to know about going to vote?

Where can I cast my ballot, and how can I find which polling places are near me?

Using the same website that allows you to check whether you’re registered, you can also find polling location options on Election Day and during the early voting period. During the early voting period, voters can cast ballots at any location in the county they are registered to vote in.

Can I wear my “Beto for Senate” or “Cruz for Senate” shirt to the polls?

No. Doing so constitutes electioneering, which is illegal in Texas.

Voters who are caught wearing campaign gear to the polls may get asked to turn their shirts inside out or to put on a jacket. Refusal to do so could result in being turned away from the polls.

Under Texas law, a person “may not electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, political party” within 100 feet of the voting site during early voting or on Election Day.

What form of ID do I need to bring?

You can see more details about the acceptable forms of ID in this Texplainer, but here’s a summary.

Voting in Texas requires a valid photo ID. Polling places accept seven types of photo ID:

  • A state driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • A Texas election identification certificate (issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety)
  • A Texas personal identification card (issued by DPS)
  • A Texas license to carry a handgun (issued by DPS)
  • A U.S. military ID card that includes a personal photo
  • A U.S. citizenship certificate that includes a personal photo
  • A U.S. passport

What if I don’t have a valid photo ID?

Voters who do not have any of those documents and cannot “reasonably obtain” them can still cast a vote if they sign a form in which they swear that they have a “reasonable impediment” from obtaining appropriate identification. Those voters will also have to present one of the following types of ID:

  • A valid voter registration certificate
  • A certified birth certificate
  • A copy or original of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the voter’s name and address (any government document that contains a voter’s photo must be an original).

ABOUT THE DATA

Shapes of the U.S. House, State Board of Education, Texas Senate and Texas House districts, historical election results and demographic data were provided by the Texas Legislative Council.

The Texas Legislative Council’s demographic analysis is based on the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Candidate information was sourced from the Texas Secretary of StateTexas Democratic Party, the Republican Party of Texas, the Libertarian Party of Texas and additionally through Texas Tribune research.

Information regarding the voting process was collected from the Texas Secretary of State and sourced from Texas Tribune reporting.

Authors: ALEX SAMUELS AND RYAN MURPHY – The Texas Tribune 

Darla Cameron and Elbert Wang contributed to this story.

About The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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5 comments

  1. #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

    What REAL Texans need to know about today’s early voting is the start of removal and extermination of the SWAMP ESTABLISHMENT by the TREASONIST WHITE NAZI Republicans in control of government power.
    This is it AMERICA! We either take back our country from these racist bigot animals including the governorship here in Texas that is run by a half/man coward by the name of CROOKED CULTIST Greg Abbott!
    And don’t forget to KICK OUT LYING Ted from the US senate. Ted Cruz’s interest is in the state of Iowa where he has visited all of it’s 99 counties. As oppose to here in Texas where Ted Cruz only visits El Paso since his opponent is from here and Harris county where he resides.
    A Trump HATE RALLY In Houston Today!!! is David Duke going to be there next to Donald NAZI Trump!
    SEND THEM THE MESSAGE! WE had enough of you TREASONIST WHITE NAZIS! here in Texas Too.
    I’d rather trade you for all those immigrants coming from Central America! they are the ones that do deserve American citizenship and you Nazi’s need to go out and find another country that is willing to take Y’ALL IN! maybe Russia will fit in just fine with your White Nationalist Movement AGENDA Alt-Right NAZI Breitbart NAZI GARBAGE!
    VOTE VOTE VOTE! our lives and freedom do depend on these midterm elections a Vote for Ted Cruz is a vote for Donald Trump. either way America ends up losing if republicans retain control of both houses of congress. LET’S STICK IT TO THEM! then we can IMPEACH THE WHITE SUPREMACIST NAZI, Donald Trump! and also impeach Brett Kavanaugh!
    With Ted Cruz the sniveling coward stooge you lose big time.
    Besides HE AIN’T NO TEXAN! not even close to a wannabe fake Texan…he’s not one of then either.
    He’s a FAKE AND A FRAUD! that only serves himself.

    • I can’t wait to see your temper tantrum when Abbott is still your governor, Crus is still your senator and little Bobby Francis O’Dork is unemployed, like you!

    • I enjoyed voting Red Today. #MAGA
      Dude up above calling Trump supporters Nazis –
      Please try to send me a message..I just sent mine to the left via vote

      • #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

        Trump NAZI supporters know exactly who they are! SEND THE WHITE NATIONALIST SUPREMACIST A SOUND MESSAGE!
        ENOUGH OF YOUR LIES AND PREJUDICE against minorities,women,LGBT,and Muslims. AND MY VOTE IS BLUE ALL THE WAY!
        Abbott is your HALFMAN STOOGE! Ted Cruz is Donald’s Trump’s MS-13! and Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s PUPPET!

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