How To Cast a Ballot By Mail

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You may vote by mail if you have a disability, or are 65 years old or older,  or will be out of the county during the election period. 

To vote by mail, you must first apply for a ballot.  http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/pol-sub/5-15f.pdf

Then for each election during the calendar year, you will receive:

  • Official Ballot
  • Instructions
  • Ballot envelope (will say “ballot envelope” on it)
  • Carrier envelope (will say “carrier envelope” on it)
  • List of declared Write-In Candidates
  • Cost of Postage (if over 49 cents there should be a notice with the postage amount.

Some Voters (depending on their situation) will receive:

  • Statement of Residence (those whose registration is in suspense) – the voter should fill it out and return it with the ballot
  • Request for copy of ID (first time voters whose DL or Social Security Number  on their registration application didn’t match)

How To Mark the Ballot:

  • Straight Ticket – a straight ticket can be cast by simply marking the oval or arrow in the Straight Party section at the top of the ballot.
  • Marking non-Dem candidates – If a voter wants to vote a Straight Democratic ticket but also vote for some individual candidates who are not Democrats (ex: in races where no Democrat is running) they may do so. Votes for all Democrats will count except in any races that have been marked otherwise.
  • Local offices and propositionsThe straight ticket option does not cover local, non-partisan races or propositions that may be on the ballot.
  • Mistakes – If you make a mistake that can’t be erased, make your intention clear so the ballot board knows who you intended to vote for.

 Mailing the Ballot:

  • After marking the ballot, the voter should place the ballot in the Ballot Envelope, seal the ballot envelope, place the sealed Ballot Envelope in the Carrier Envelope and seal the Carrier Envelope.
  • The voter must sign the back of the sealed Carrier Envelope OVER the flap. It’s VERY IMPORTANT that the voter sign the carrier envelope OVER the sealed flap. Not doing so can lead to the ballot being rejected.
  • The sealed Carrier Envelope should then be addressed to the County Early Voting Clerk, if it’s not already.
  • The early voting clerk must receive (not just be postmarked) the ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
  • The ballot envelope and carrier envelope are usually different colors (but varies from county to county and year to year). 
  • The carrier envelope may not be used to return more than one ballot. The carrier envelope may be delivered in another envelope (ex: If you are hesitant to mail the envelope with your signature on the outside) and must be delivered by mail or by common or contract carrier (ex: UPS, FedEx). Only one carrier envelope shall be placed in another envelope, unless the additional carrier envelope(s) belong to a person registered to vote at the same address (ex: spouses, parents, or children in the same house can place their sealed carrier envelopes in a bigger envelope and mail them together).

Helping Voters With Mail Ballots

  • Anyone who helps you with a mail ballot in person MUST put their name and address on the carrier envelope as a witness or assistant and check the appropriate box. No one may witness (for voters who can’t sign their name) more than 1 carrier envelope per election. Once in the presence of the voter, the witness/assistant may not in any way suggest who the voter should vote for.