Here’s how to vote in Texas’ May 28 runoff elections

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There were 32 state and federal elections during the March primaries in which no candidate won more than half of the votes. During the May 28 runoffs, voters in those districts can return to the polls to vote on who they want to appear on the ballot for the November general election.

Here’s who’s facing runoffs and how to vote if there’s one in your district.

What’s on the ballot?

There are no runoffs for statewide offices. The most significant runoffs are in some Texas House of Representatives races, where Attorney General Ken Paxton is seeking revenge against Republicans who voted to impeach him. Gov. Greg Abbott is also working to unseat House Republicans who voted against school vouchers, one of Abbott’s legislative priorities in 2023. In total, eight House Republican incumbents were forced into runoffs, including House Speaker Dade Phelan.

There are also a few runoffs for seats in the Texas Senate, the Texas State Board of Education, which is responsible for determining curriculum standards for Texas’ 5.5 million public school students, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

The candidates who advance to the general election and are elected in November will have the opportunity to affect public policy and Texans’ lives in areas such as education, health care and immigration.

Use our address lookup tool below to see if there are any bond or runoff elections in your community. (Note: We don’t collect your data.)

You can also visit our ballot lookup page to see how many runoff races there will be statewide.

What dates do I need to know?

April 29 is the last day to register to vote and to submit an address change for the runoff elections.

You can report an address or name change online. You should do this if you’ve moved since the last time you voted, especially if you have moved to a different county or political subdivision or have legally taken a different name.

How do I check if I’m registered to vote?

You can check to see if you’re registered and verify your information through the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

You’ll need one of the following three combinations to log in:

  • Your Texas driver’s license number and date of birth.
  • Your first and last names, date of birth and county you reside in.
  • Your date of birth and Voter Unique Identifier, which appears on your voter registration certificate.

Read more about voter registration requirements further down in this story.

May 17 is the last day to apply to vote by mail.

This option is limited in Texas. Read more about who qualifies here.

When do I need to drop off or mail an application?

Applications must be received by the early voting clerk in your county — not postmarked — by May 17. Applications can also be submitted by fax or email, but the county must receive a hard copy within four business days. They can also be dropped off in person.

You can download an application here or request one to be mailed to you here.

If you’re looking to vote by mail, give yourself as much leeway as possible. You’ll need to budget for the time it will take your county to get your ballot to you in the mail after you apply.

What is the deadline to mail my ballot?

The deadline for mail-in ballots to be returned to the county is election day, May 28. If a ballot is postmarked by 7 p.m. locally that day, it’ll be counted if the county receives it by 5 p.m. on May 29.

Absentee ballots can also be delivered to the county elections office in person with a valid form of ID while polls are open on election day.

Completed ballots from military or overseas voters are accepted if they’re received by June 3. (Military and overseas voters can go through a different ballot request and return process.)

Read more about vote-by-mail requirements in this section.

Early voting in person runs from May 20-24. If you can’t vote inside of a polling place because of COVID-19 or a disability, curbside voting may be available to you. Read more about what qualifies as a disability and about curbside voting options here.

Who is eligible to vote early?

Anyone registered to vote may vote early, but it must be done in person unless you qualify to vote by mail.

Where am I allowed to vote early?

Voters can cast ballots at any polling location in the county where they are registered to vote. Check your county election office’s website for early-voting locations.

Election day is May 28.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.

Are polling locations the same on election day as they are during early voting?

Not always. Check which polling locations are open in your area before you head to cast your ballot. In some counties, election day voting may be restricted to locations in your designated precinct. Other counties allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling place on election day.

Read more about voting options for those affected by COVID-19 in this section.

What do I need to know about voter registration requirements?

Who can register to vote in Texas?

U.S. citizens in Texas can register to vote in the election if they are 18 or older or if they will be 18 by election day.

Citizens in the state cannot register to vote if they have been convicted of a felony and are still serving a sentence, including parole or probation, or if they have been deemed mentally incapacitated in court. Here are more specifics on eligibility.

How do I register to vote?

You must complete and submit a paper voter registration application by April 29.

You can request a postage-paid application through the mail or find one at your local county’s voter registration office and some post offices, government offices, or high schools. You can also print out the online application and mail it to the voter registrar in your county.

Applications must be postmarked by the April 29 deadline. Download your application here.

Additionally, you can register to vote through the Texas Department of Public Safety while renewing your driver’s license. You may be able to register to vote online if you’re also allowed to renew your license online. This is the only form of online registration in the state.

After you register to vote, you will receive a voter registration certificate within 30 days. It’ll contain your voter information, including the Voter Unique Identifier number needed to update your voter registration online. If the certificate has incorrect information, you’ll need to note corrections and send it to your local voter registrar as soon as possible.

The voter registration certificate can also be used as a secondary form of ID when you vote if you don’t have one of the seven state-approved photo IDs. More information on that here.

Do you have to reregister to vote?

Once you register to vote, you generally remain registered, but there are various reasons why you may want to verify your registration status. For example, you need to update your registration after a name or address change. You can make those updates online here.

What does it mean if my voter registration is in “suspense”?

If a county receives a non-deliverable notice after sending a voter registration certificate or suspects an address change, a voter is placed on a “suspense list” and asked to confirm their address. Voters on the suspense list can still vote if they update or confirm their address before the voter registration deadline for an election or fill out a “statement of residence” when voting. They may have to vote at their previous polling location or vote on a limited ballot. If no action is taken by a suspended voter, they are removed from the voter rolls after about four years, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

Federal law prevents the state from removing registered voters within 90 days of a federal election unless the voter has died, been convicted of a felony or been declared mentally incapacitated.

If you’re concerned about your voter registration, you can verify it online here.

What if I moved after the voter registration deadline?

You must reside in a Texas county by the voter registration deadline to vote in the upcoming election unless you qualify for absentee voting. You can read more about absentee and mail-in voting here.

You can vote at your previous polling location if you moved within the same county or political subdivision. Or you can vote at your new polling location on a ballot limited to the elections you would qualify to vote in at both polling locations, such as statewide races.

Limited ballots are available only during early voting at a “main early voting polling place,” which is usually the office of the election administrator or county clerk who runs elections in your county. The main early voting polling place should be noted in a county’s list of early voting locations.

Eligible people experiencing homelessness can vote, as long as they provide an address on their registration and a description for where they are residing, such as a shelter or a street intersection. If needed, their mailing address can be different, but a P.O. Box address is usually not considered a residence address.

What do I do if I run into issues with my voter registration?

If you have questions or concerns about your registration, you can find your county’s voter registration contact here.

Inside polling locations, there are typically “resolution desks” where poll workers can address registration issues.

You can also find more information on frequently asked questions from the secretary of state’s office at

What do I need to know about mail-in voting?

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

This option is fairly limited in Texas. You’re allowed to vote by mail only if:

  • You will be 65 or older by election day.
  • You will not be in your county for the entire voting period, including early voting.
  • You cite a sickness or disability that prevents you from voting in person without needing personal assistance or without the likelihood of injuring your health.
  • You’re expected to give birth within three weeks before or after election day.
  • You are confined in jail but otherwise eligible (i.e., not convicted of a felony).

College students who are registered at a residence in Texas, such as a parent’s home, but are studying out of state can apply for absentee ballots. Students studying in Texas who are from other states can also choose to register to vote in the state with their dorm or Texas address.

If you are voting absentee, such as from overseas, and want to see what will appear on your ballot, you can get a sample ballot from your county. In most cases, sample ballots can be found on your county’s election website.

What identification do I need to vote by mail?

Texas rules for voting by mail require voters to provide an ID number on both their application for a ballot and the carrier envelope used to return a completed ballot. This must be one the following ID numbers:

  • A driver’s license number
  • A state ID number
  • The last four digits of their Social Security number
  • Texas election ID certificate number (issued by DPS and which is different from the number found on your voter registration certificate)

If they don’t have any of these, voters can also check a box indicating they have not been issued that identification.

This identification rule was added by the Texas Legislature in 2021, and some voters have had their ballots or applications rejected because they didn’t provide an ID number or the number they provided did not match the one the state had for the voter.

If you don’t have a license number on file or are unsure about which ID number you provided, the secretary of state has suggested contacting your local voter registrar to ask about how to add one of the required numbers to your voter registration record.

Voting advocates have suggested voters include both their driver’s license or state ID number and the last four digits of their Social Security number, if they have both, to avoid issues.

Does lack of immunity to COVID-19 qualify as a disability during the pandemic?

While a lack of immunity to COVID-19 alone does not allow a voter to request a ballot based on disability, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that it was up to voters to decide if lack of immunity, combined with their medical history, meets the state’s eligibility criteria.

Note that the Texas election code’s definition of a disability is broader than other federal definitions. A voter is eligible to vote by mail if they have a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents them from voting in person without the likelihood of “needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.” It’s up to the voter to decide this, and election officials don’t have the authority to question a voter’s reasoning.

What kind of postage do I need to return my mail-in ballot?

It depends on where you live. Postage for mail-in ballots will vary by county because the style and size of the ballot could be different from county to county — and some counties may pay postage for you. Local elections offices should have the specifics once ballots are finalized. That said, if you don’t have enough postage, your ballot is not supposed to be returned to you. Instead, the Postal Service is supposed to deliver the ballot and bill the county for the insufficient or missing postage.

What if there’s an issue with my mail-in ballot?

Texas allows voters to correct their mail-in ballots if the ballots are at risk of being rejected for a technical error, including missing information or signatures. This also applies to issues with mail-in applications. County officials are responsible for alerting voters if there is a defect with their application or ballot.

Voters can use a new online ballot tracker to check the status of both their application to vote by mail and their ballot. The tracker can also be used to make corrections. You can access the tracker here. The deadline to correct mail-in ballot applications is May 17. The deadline to correct a mail-in ballot is June 3.

What do I need to know about going to the polls?

How does primary voting work?

Primary elections are used to designate who will be a party’s candidate in the general election in each race, so you’ll be selecting among members of the same party in casting your vote. If you voted in the March primaries, you can only vote in runoff elections for that same party.

If you didn’t vote in the March primaries, you’ll have to choose whether you want to vote in the Republican or Democratic runoffs. Some counties will host what’s known as a joint primary, which means everyone checks in at the same desk and uses the same voting machines. In other counties, there will be separate check-in stations and lines for both parties.

How can I find which polling places are near me?

County election offices are supposed to post on their websites information on polling locations for election day and during the early-voting period by May 7. The secretary of state’s website will also have information on polling locations closer to the start of voting. However, polling locations may change, so be sure to check your county’s election website before going to vote.

What form of ID do I need to bring?

You’ll need one of seven types of valid photo ID to vote in Texas:

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

Check out this story for more details.

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

Voters can still cast votes if they sign a form swearing that they have a “reasonable impediment” from obtaining a proper photo ID. However, those voters will also have to present one of the following types of supporting identification documents:

  • A valid voter registration certificate.
  • A certified birth certificate.
  • A document confirming birth admissible in a court of law that establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document).
  • A copy of or an original 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.)

If you have a valid photo ID but forgot it, you can cast a provisional ballot but will have to visit the local voter registrar’s office within six days of the election to present an acceptable ID or documentation in order for the ballot to be counted. A registered voter without a valid photo ID or any of the supporting documents can also cast a provisional ballot.

How can I make sure my ballot is counted?

How do I know if my provisional ballot was counted?

If you voted through a provisional ballot because of an administrative issue or photo ID problem, you should receive a notice by mail letting you know if your ballot was counted in the local canvass, which is the official tallying of votes. These notices must be mailed by June 17, according to the state’s election law calendar.

What about regular ballots?

Counties keep track of voter history, but votes are anonymous once ballots are submitted and added to the vote counts, said Chris Davis, the voter registration division director for Travis County.

To ensure vote counts are accurate, counties test election equipment multiple times, including in a public test conducted before an election.

“If that county has performed a successful logic and accuracy test before that election and that voter in that county has actually marked their ballot and cast it, I believe they can safely assume that their vote is counted,” Davis said.

What voter data is public?

Voter history, or whether a person voted in a previous election, is public. This includes primary election history, during which voters have to pick either the Republican or Democratic primary. This means the primary you voted in may be disclosed in the rosters of voters that counties are required to post. Your ballot choices are not public.

Disclosure: The Texas Secretary of State has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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