One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most common questions receive by the Office of the
Secretary of State.


The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below have been compiled with the April 3, 2012 Primary Election in mind. Please take a moment to review these pages, as you may find the answers to questions of your own. We encourage you to explore our website for more detailed information on elections and voting in Texas. Note: Questions and answers are grouped in categories and links to additional information are provided when needed.

  1. I’m not sure if I’m registered; how can I confirm my voter registration status?
  2. I'm not registered, but want to vote in the April Primary Election. How can I be sure that I'm registered in time to vote?
  3. If I send my registration by the deadline, what happens next?
  4. I am registered to vote, but I moved this past year. Is there anything I need to do to make sure that I won't have a problem voting in April?
  5. I don't remember seeing my voter registration certificate lately. Is that a problem? Don't I just stay registered?
  6. I am reviewing this page and nothing makes sense to me. These are not the rules I have heard. I'm in a state other than Texas -- does that matter?
  7. Who is eligible to vote early? What are the dates for voting early in person?
  8. Where do I go to vote?
  9. Can anybody vote early by mail (once referred to as absentee voting)?
  10. I fall under one of the four reasons above. What do I do now? Are there deadlines connected with this procedure?
  11. It's Election Day, April 3, 2012, and I'm registered and ready to vote. Where do I go? What are the hours for voting on Election Day?
  12. Does a voter have to vote in the main election in order to vote in a runoff-election?

Checking Voter Registration Status, Getting Registered for the First Time, or Making Changes to Your Current Registration

1. I’m not sure if I’m registered; how can I confirm my voter registration status?

A: You can confirm your registration status by going to Am I Registered?, where you can select one of three methods for conducting your search. You can search using your: 1.Voter Unique Identifier (VUID), which appears on your voter registration certificate; 2. Texas driver's license number, if you provided it when you applied for voter registration; or 3. First and last name. Or, you can call the voter registrar’s office in the county where you reside. To find the number, review the list of County Voter Registration Officials.

2. I'm not registered, but want to vote in the April Primary Election. How can I be sure that I'm registered in time to vote?

A: The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in the April 3, 2012 Primary Election is March 5, 2012. This can be either the postmark date on an application or the date the application is received in the voter registrar’s office of the applicant’s county of residence. You may, of course, register at any time before March 5 to ensure that your registration is effective for voting in April. Please contact your county voter registrar’s office for a postage-paid voter registration application.  You may also download an informal application from our website.

3. If I send my registration by the deadline, what happens next?

A: Your voter registration becomes effective 30 days after it is submitted (and accepted*) by the county voter registrar.  The county offices will then put your name on the voter registration list, generate your voter certificate, and mail the certificate to you. Once received, be sure to read the information on the back of the certificate, sign by the X on the "front" of the card (the yellow area) and keep your voter card in a safe place.

*If your original application is missing required information, you will receive a notice in the mail and be given a deadline by which to respond to the notice.

4. I am registered to vote, but I moved this past year. Is there anything I need to do to make sure that I won't have a problem voting in April?

A: If you moved “within the same county” where you are currently registered, you must file the new address information in writing with your voter registrar OR you may submit the “in county" change online. The last day to make a change of address that will be effective for the March primary election is March 5, 2012. If you miss this deadline, you may return to your old precinct to vote. You will be required to complete a "statement of residence" confirming your new address in your new precinct.

A: If you moved to a “new county,” you must re-register in your new county of residence by March 5, 2012, to be eligible to vote in the April 3, 2012, Primary Election.

LIMITED BALLOT OPTION: If you moved to a new county and have not re-registered in the new county by the March 5, 2012, deadline, you may be eligible to vote a limited ballot in your new county. A limited ballot means that you are allowed to vote on any candidates and measures in common between your former and new county. You must be a current registered voter in your former county or were a registered voter in your new county at the time you submitted your voter registration application in order to qualify. You may not vote a limited ballot on Election Day. For full information on this procedure, go to Special Forms of Early Voting. If you feel you qualify to vote a limited ballot, we recommend that you contact the office of the Early Voting Clerk in your new county: Early Voting Clerk for State and County Elections.

5. I don't remember seeing my voter registration certificate lately. Is that a problem? Don't I just stay registered?

A: New certificates are mailed out every two years to the most recent address on file with the voter registrar. If you do not recall receiving a new yellow and white certificate in early 2012, it could mean that you have moved without updating your address, or there is some other problem with your registration. If the certificate was mailed to an old address and it was returned to the registrar, you were placed on the "suspense list" in that county. This means you have a grace period that allows you to vote in your old precinct. If you do not vote, your name will be removed from the rolls after two federal elections have passed since you were placed on the suspense list. If you did not receive your certificate because you moved to a new Texas county, you will need to re-register.

6. I am reviewing this page and nothing makes sense to me. These are not the rules I have heard. I'm in a state other than Texas -- does that matter?

A: If you are visiting our website from another state, please remember that each state has slightly different rules. These rules describe Texas state law and are intended for voters who consider their permanent home to be in Texas and want to vote a Texas ballot. If you arrived at this page through a search engine and you need another state's election law, check the National Association of Secretaries of State page for other state websites.

Voting Early - Election Day Voting

7. Who is eligible to vote early? What are the dates for voting early in person?

A: Any registered voter may vote early by personal appearance (in person). Early voting by personal appearance for the April 3, 2012, Primary Election begins on March 19, 2012, and ends on March 30, 2012. You may vote at any early voting location in your county of registration.

8. Where do I go to vote?

You can find early voting locations by using our search site Am I Registered?, which will be populated with voting sites a few days before early voting begins. Or, you may want to contact the Early Voting Clerk for State and County Elections in your county. Also, many newspapers publish early voting polling locations.

9. Can anybody vote early by mail (once referred to as absentee voting)?

A: Only specific reasons entitle a registered voter to vote early by mail (no longer called absentee voting). You may request a ballot by mail if you:

  1. will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
  2. are sick or disabled;
  3. are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
  4. are confined in jail.

10. I fall under one of the four reasons above. What do I do now? Are there deadlines connected with this procedure?

A: First, request an Application for Ballot by Mail (ABBM) from the Early Voting Clerk in your county of registration, or from our office. Once received, read the instructions carefully, complete the ABBM form and return to the Early Voting Clerk. The dates applicable to the April 3, 2012 Primary Election are as follows: the first day you may submit an ABBM for the general primary or for both the primary and the primary runoff is February 3, 2012; the last day (or deadline) to submit an ABBM is March 27, 2012---this is NOT A POSTMARK DATE---the ABBM must be RECEIVED IN THE OFFICE OF THE EARLY VOTING CLERK by March 27, 2012, in order for you to receive a ballot by mail.

11. It's Election Day, April 3, 2012, and I'm registered and ready to vote. Where do I go? What are the hours for voting on Election Day?

A: You can find your precinct voting location by using our search site Am I Registered?, which will be populated with voting sites well before Election Day. Or, you may want to contact the elections official in your county of registration. Also, many newspapers publish Election Day polling locations.

Election Day voting hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at all polling places statewide.

12. Does a voter have to vote in the primary election in order to vote in a runoff-election?

A: A voter does not have to vote in the primary election in order to vote in a run-off election. This is prescribed in Section 11.001 of the Texas Election Code.  


Provisional Voting

Provisional voting is designed to allow a voter whose name does not appear on the list of registered voters due to an administrative error to vote.  The voter must complete an affidavit stating the reasons he or she is qualified to vote. Provisional voting is only used if the voter cannot qualify to vote by the methods described above. Important points are: (1) the cast provisional ballots are kept separately from the regular ballots; and (2) the voter’s registration record will be reviewed later by the provisional voting ballot board (the early voting ballot board) and is counted only if the voter is determined to be a registered voter and is otherwise qualified to vote. Provisional voters will receive a notice in the mail by the 10th day after the local canvass advising them if their provisional ballots were counted, and if they were not counted, the reason why.

Military & Overseas Voters

Military and overseas voters are welcome to use the regular registration and early voting by mail process available to all voters away from their home county on Election Day. However, there are also special provisions for military and overseas voters.

Voters with Special Needs

Please read our special needs information to ensure that you are fully informed on the available services.

Student Voters

Student voters often seek advice regarding residency issues for voter registration purposes. For more information, please read Information regarding student residency issues.

We also have FAQS on Student Election Clerks.

Convicted Felons and Voting

In Texas, a convicted felon regains the right to vote after completing his or her sentence. Therefore, once a convict completes the punishment phase (including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by the court), the convict is eligible to register and vote in the state of Texas.

Liquor Elections

For information on the local option liquor petition and election process in Texas, please review our office’s educational materials.

Political Parties

For information on registered political parties in Texas, please contact those organizations directly:

Additional Information

We have information located in various sections of our website – "Voter Information," "Candidates," and "Conducting Your Elections" (for election administrators), just to name a few. You will notice that some information is repeated in different places; our hope is to gear each section to the audience for easier bookmarking and future use.

Should you need additional information, please email or call us at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683).

*This information was retrived from http://www.votexas.org/faq.html

Articles and Resources

 

Election results 

faq
 

Below are the most common questions we receive at the Office of the Secretary of State.



Why should I register to vote?

Voting is the process that enables you to have a say on the issues and officials that most affect your life. Your participation in this process is vital to maintaining a democracy “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and distinguishes the United States from every other country. It is a right you should exercise at every available opportunity, because you are helping to determine how we live and what our future will be.

Must I be a U.S. citizen and a resident to register to vote in Texas?

You must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Texas to vote in Texas.

How do I register to vote?

You may register to vote simply by filling out a Texas Voter Registration application which are readily available at libraries, post offices, government offices, major grocery stores and, of course, here: To download a Voter Registration application, click here.

Do I have to register before every election?

No. Once you register to vote, you shouldn’t have to register again, so long as you don’t move out of the county where you were first registered. For complete information, refer to our section “Did You Change Something?”

Do I have to bring an I.D. with me to register to vote?

Identification is not required to register to vote in Texas, but you must take either your voter registration certificate or acceptable identification when you vote. For more information on what is acceptable identification, see our section “Need I.D.?” under “Step One: Register.”

How old must I be to register to vote?

You may register if you are at least 17 years and 10 months of age. However, you must be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the election.

Must I declare a political party affiliation when I register?

No, though when you vote in a primary election, your vote will determine your party affiliation for the rest of the year.

Where can I register to vote?

You may register in person to vote at your County Voter Registration office, County Driver License office, public library, the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas, and at get-out-the-vote rallies at special locations.

Is there a deadline for sending in the registration form?

To vote in an upcoming election, your properly completed voter registration form must be postmarked thirty (30) days before the upcoming election to be valid.

Can I find out if I am still registered if I haven’t voted in a long time?

Am I Registered to Vote?

Contact your County Voter Registration Office for information specific to your situation. As well, many counties have an online presence you can check for up-to-date voter registration information.

Can a homeless person register to vote?

Yes.

What form do I fill out to change my address or my name?

You must complete a Texas Voter Registration application, though in some cases, you can change your information online. For complete details, see our section “Did You Change Something?”
I registered, but I never received a notice from the Voter Registration Office. How do I find out if my new registration was really processed?

Contact your local Voter Registration Office to confirm your registration status, but you need to do so before the registration deadline 30 days before Election Day.
What voting systems have been certified for use in the state of Texas?

There are three vendors and a total of seven voting machine systems that have been certified by the State of Texas. To learn more about each, as well as for instructions on how each voting machine works, see our section “Meet Your Voting Machine.”

Can anyone vote early, or only those people who are going to be out of town on Election Day? What are the dates for voting early in person?

Any registered voter may vote early in person. To vote early by mail, you must first complete an application for ballot by mail. For complete details, refer to our section “Many Texans Vote Early.”

Where do I go to vote?

 

Vote Here MRCHS

The University of Texas and Texas Southmost College
Mary Rose Cardenas Hall South 80 Fort Brown Brownsville, Texas
 

  • Monday, April 26 thru Friday, April 30 
  • Saturday, May 1
  • Monday, May 3 thru Tuesday May 4

You will vote in the precinct in which you are registered. Most newspapers print precinct polling places and addresses in the days before an election. As well, if your county has supplied us with its polling place information, you can find that information here: County Precincts and Polling Place Addresses

For information on locations of early voting polling places, please contact your County Clerk or Elections Administrator.

Can anybody vote early by mail?

To vote early by mail (which used to be called “voting absentee”), you must meet certain criteria:

   1. You will be away from your county on Election Day and during early voting;
   2. You are sick or disabled;
   3. You are 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
   4. You are confined in jail, but eligible to vote.

If you fall under one of the above, you will need to complete an Application for Ballot by Mail, which you can obtain from the Early Voting Clerk in the county where you are registered or from the Secretary of State’s Office. There are some very specific deadlines you must abide by, so refer to our section “Vote Early by Mail” under “Many Texans Vote Early.”

For more information on voting and voting procedures, contact:

   1. The Secretary of State’s office toll-free at 1.800.252.8683
   2. Your County Clerk (listed in the blue pages of your telephone book)
   3. Your County Elections Administrator
   4. Your Voter Registrar (Tax Assessor-Collector)
   5. The Secretary of State’s office online at www.sos.state.tx.us

 

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