Early Voting In Texas Runs Through Friday — Here’s Where To Go And What To Bring
Update, Oct. 24: If you're looking for information on voting in the 2018 midterm elections, see our guide here.
Any registered voter may vote early in person. To vote early by mail, applications for a ballot were due Oct. 28. To get your vote counted, submit your completed mail-in ballot to your county's voter registrar office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Since early voting in Texas began Oct. 24, voters have been turning out in record-breaking numbers across the state. It may or may not be surprising considering more than 15 million people — another record-breaking total — registered to vote in Texas by the Oct. 11 deadline.
There are several issues surrounding voting this election in Texas: voter ID, voter fraud, voter turnout and talks from the Republican presidential candidate of a “rigged” election. In this guide, you’ll learn where you can vote, what you should bring to the polls and what to do if you have any problems.
Keep reading for highlights on some of those races and sample ballots in North Texas’ four biggest counties: Dallas, Denton, Collin and Tarrant.
Where you can vote early in North Texas through Nov. 4
Zoom in and hover over your county to see where and when you can vote early.
Voter eligibility and identification requirements in Texas
To be eligible to vote you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old by Election Day and living in the county that matches your registration. Also, you must not be serving a sentence or parole for a felony conviction. Read more from the Texas Secretary of State's office on voting.
Here are the 7 acceptable forms of voter identification:
Texas was forced to scale back its voter ID requirements for this election after the Supreme Court in July ruled the state's 2011 law violated the Voting Rights Act.
The following are acceptable forms of identification to bring when casting your ballot:
- 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 license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
- U.S. military identification card that has a photo
- U.S. citizenship certificate that has a photo
- U.S. passport
If a voter can't present one of those seven forms of ID, he or she can sign a declaration at the polling place explaining why he or she can't obtain of the approved forms and provide one of the following forms of supporting documentation:
- An original, certified birth certificate
- A valid voter registration certificate
- A copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address.
Government documents that include a photo must be original and cannot be copies.
What’s on the ballot in North Texas?
Proposition 1 would curb the pension benefits of future employees of the City of Dallas. The plan would affect employees hired after Jan. 1, 2017. Proposed changes from Employee Retirement Fund officials are projected to save the city-supported pension fund $2.15 billion over the next three decades, The Dallas Morning News reports. This fund is not associated with the troubled Police and Fire Pension Fund.
Voters in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district will consider a tax ratification measure increasing the property tax rate to fund schools. The proposed rate is $1.3917 per $100, which is $0.1165 higher per $100 than the current rate. Several North Texas schools have held or have considered holding similar tax ratification elections for more funding.
Dallas County sheriff
Sheriff Lupe Valdez is up for re-election against Republican Kirk Launius, Libertarian David Geoffrey Morris and Green Party candidate J.C. Osborne. Valdez, who's been sheriff since 2005, is the only Latina sheriff in the country. In March, Valdez ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and won 114,265 votes, The Dallas Morning News reports.
There are several Congressional and state representative seats on the ballot in North Texas — not all are contested, however. Four of Dallas County's Texas House races for Districts 102, 105, 107 and 113 are particularly competitive this election season, The Texas Tribune reports.
- Read the voter guide from the League of Women Voters of Dallas.
Voters in Tarrant County will decide on Proposition 1, which would allow for more liquor stores. Propositions seeking approval for the sale of hard liquor will appear on ballots in Grapevine, Roanoke, far north Fort Worth, Haltom City, Hurst and Watauga, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. However, liquor stores would have to conform to whatever zoning and permitting ordinances are in place in each city.
In November, Arlington voters will be asked to weigh in on using city funds to pay half of the billion-dollar price tag of a new stadium for the Texas Rangers. Those funds come from existing sales taxes that are used to help pay for the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T stadium, KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports. The City of Arlington will ask voters to approve or disapprove taxes on tickets at Rangers Stadium events and parking to help fund a the new stadium with air conditioning and a retractable roof, The Dallas Morning News reports. The new stadium would be across the street from 22-year-old Globe Life Park.
Tarrant County SheriffOn Super Tuesday in March longtime Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson was in the lead in the Republican primary, but he didn't secure more than 50 percent of the vote. That called for a runoff with challenger Bill Waybourn in May. Waybourn won and now faces Libertarian candidate Max Koch III. No Democrats are on the ballot.
- Read the voter guide from the League of Women Voters of Tarrant County.
Other voter guides
Taking a selfie with your ballot (when voting in person) is illegal. In Texas, photography within 100 feet of polling stations is prohibited, The Associated Press reports. Photos of mail-in ballots are OK. Texas banned cameras and recording equipment long before the smartphone selfie culture boomed — actually just a few months after the first iPhone came out in 2007.
Record-breaking turnout during the first week of early voting
According to unofficial totals, 270,000 people in Tarrant County voted in the first week. In 2012, that number was around 204,000.
In Dallas County, the gap is even wider. In the first week, 300,000 voters turned out. In the first week in 2012, turnout was just shy of 222,000.
In Denton County, more than 20 percent of the voting population voted in the first week.
And in Collin County, the current early voter turnout has shattered the 2008 first-week total by more than 75,000 people. The Texas Tribune is tracking voter turnout day-by-day in Texas' biggest counties. Explore the interactive.
Let KERA know if you have problems at the polls
You can get involved in Election Day by texting TXDECIDES to 69866. We’ll check in to find out how long it took you to vote and whether you had or saw any problems. You can also tweet about voting issues you see with the hashtag #TXDecides. Read more about Electionland.
Last but not least, for the latest national and local election coverage explore our Elections page and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #TXDecides.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.