Everything Austin voters need to know about this presidential election

Update, October 2nd: Following the publication of this article, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his decision to drastically limit the number of seats that can be used to cast absentee votes. We have updated this story with information about postal ballot papers. Read more about his decision here.

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Editor’s note: This article provides the most accurate information, but is not a comprehensive guide. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Travis County Clerk online or call the Travis County Elections Division with any questions at 512-238-VOTE.

It’s the season for fall pumpkin-flavored beverages, sticky, creepy decor – and voting. Yes, vote in October.

While election day for the 2020 presidential election is technically Tuesday, November 3rd, Texans can cast their votes as early as Tuesday, October 13th, if early voting begins by Friday, October 30th.

Read on for detailed information on voting in Travis County. Because everyone knows that a pumpkin spice latte only hits differently after you’ve done your civic duty in the elections.

First, let’s make sure you are all ready to vote.

Am I registered to vote?

Check here. Don’t see each other, but could swear you’re registered? Contact Travis County directly.

I am not registered. What now?

No panic. The closing date for voters in Texas is October 5th.

The best thing to do is to register in person with a voluntary deputy registrar. Here is a list of the registration events happening across town between now and the deadline that you can do just that. Insider tip: When registering at 4705 Heflin Dr. Free tacos are available on Sunday, October 4th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Another option is to go here to fill out and print out your request to vote. (Or get a mail-in registration form at one of these locations.) You must then have your application by post and postmarked – be sure to check the pick-up times for emails! – until October 5th.

I just moved to Austin. Can I register to vote here even if I have not yet updated my address in my ID?

Yes. You can register at your new address. As long as you have one of these forms of ID to take the surveys with you, it’s fine if the address doesn’t match where you are registered.

I’m already registered, but I’ve moved to Travis County. Can I update my address online?

Absolutely. Go over here.

I have a criminal record / crime record. Can i vote?

Yes you can! As long as you’re not on parole.

I am currently homeless. How do I get registered and vote?

When completing your application for voter registration, please indicate under “Home address” where you stayed most often or last. It could be an intersection or even something like “the 500 block of East 7th Street” and include the zip code. Include the mailing address where you can get the mail: a friend’s house, Trinity Center, ARCH, etc. (This is also where you can get your voter registration certificate.)

If you’re going to vote and don’t have a state-issued ID, you can use your voter registration certificate if it arrives on time, or any of the supporting forms of ID listed here.

Are you registered? Great. Now is the time to choose.

How am I supposed to do that

Early and in person if you can.

When can I vote?

Texans can vote early from Tuesday, October 13th through Friday, October 30th. The opening times are Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On October 28, 29, and 30, six “Mega Centers,” including the Austin Central Library, extended their hours from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Click here for the full list.

Or you can vote on election day, Tuesday 3 November, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Remember, you only have to stand in line for the polls to vote. If you are in line after completing the polls, stay in line until you can cast your vote.

Where do I vote?

Anywhere in Travis County that you see a “Vote Here / Vote Aqui” sign. A map of the early voting locations can be found here. And here you can vote on election day.

What do I have to bring to the vote? Do I need my voter registration certificate to vote?

Your voter registration certificate is a complementary form of identity card. So if you’ve misplaced it (or haven’t arrived yet) that’s fine as long as you can show your Texan driver’s license, passport, or any of these acceptable forms of photo identification.

Remember: the address on your ID does not have to match the address you are registered at, but the name on your ID needs to match the name you are registered under.

Who am I voting for? What’s on my ballot paper?

You can now enter your address here and access a “voting slip” to see exactly who and for whom you will be voting. Don’t forget – no phones are allowed in the voting booth. So if you want to bring notes with you, take them the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.

I requested a postal vote, but I decided to vote in person instead. Can i do that

It’s complicated, but yes. If you’ve already received your postal ballot, be sure to bring it with you when you vote to hand it in. But even if you have not yet received your voting slip (or not at all), you can submit a preliminary voting slip in person. Once it is determined that your postal ballot has not been received, your personal vote will be counted.

Can I vote by email?

It depends on if. In Texas, you can vote by email if you are registered and are 65 or over. throughout the election period, including early voting, outside of Travis County; sick or disabled; or locked up in prison but eligible to vote. We also strongly recommend reading the Texas Tribune’s Comprehensive Guide to Mail-In Voting for more information.

I am entitled and would like to vote by email – what now?

To get a ballot, you must first apply for one by downloading this form and submitting it to the Travis County Clerk office to be received (unstamped) by Friday, October 23rd.

Once your application is accepted, you will receive your ballot in the mail, which you must have completed and postmarked by election day (to receive the day after election day) or hand delivered to one of four thoroughfare locations in Travis County.

If you plan to vote via email, here is a full explanation. If you have any questions, please contact the Travis County Electoral Department at 512-238-VOTE.

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