Early voting starts Tuesday: What you need to know for the 2020 election

Official Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020

Are you going to vote in the 2020 general election?

With the election upon us, the AARP is fighting to protect voters who are ages 50 and older, and to make their voices are heard on issues such as Social Security, Medicare, prescription drug prices and ensuring a safe voting experience, the company said.

“We have a proud decades-long history of nonpartisan voter engagement,” a representative for AARP said. “We don’t endorse candidates or contribute to their campaigns. We do, however, encourage candidates to offer solutions on the issues that matter most to AARP members.”

According to AARP, Texas lawmakers haven’t changed much about how the state will conduct its general election amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Texas will allow absentee voting for those 65 and older, people with disabilities, and those away from their home county during the voting period, allowing them to safely cast ballots from home.
  • Texas voters will be able to cast their ballots early and in-person beginning Oct. 13. In July, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended the early voting window, which had been scheduled to open a week later, helping voters avoid long Election Day lines.
  • In October, Abbott issued an order that limits each county to one in-person location for voters to drop off a mail-in ballot.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. is Election Day in the U.S.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Rules for where voters can cast their ballots vary by county. Use the state’s voter portal to see where you can vote in person.

The portal will have poll location information starting two days before Election Day. In some counties, you can vote at any polling location within the county. In other counties, you can vote only at the precinct to which you are assigned.

Can I vote before Election Day?

Yes, early voting runs from Oct. 13 to Oct. 30. Registered voters can cast their ballot at any early voting location in their county.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

Voters will need to present one of seven acceptable forms of identification to cast their ballot: a Texas driver’s license, an election identification certificate, a Texas personal identification card, a state handgun license, a U.S. military identification card, a U.S. citizenship certificate or a U.S. passport book or card.

If you don’t have any of these forms of identification, you can fill out a declaration at the polls explaining your situation. You’ll be required to present a voter registration certificate, bank statement or paycheck to identify yourself. Voters with disabilities can apply for a permanent exemption from presenting identification.

What is being done to make polling places safe from the coronavirus?

The secretary of state has issued an extensive list of health protocols for polling stations and is encouraging Texans to make use of the early voting period. The secretary of state’s office has distributed a safety checklist for voters and election officials. In July, Gov. Abbott signed an order requiring people in counties with 20 or more active coronavirus cases to wear face coverings in public.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

Not necessarily. Some polling locations may be combined to evenly distribute election officials. Check the state’s online voter portal before you head to the polls.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent John Cornyn (R) vs. MJ Hegar (D)
  • U.S. House: All 36 seats
  • State Supreme Court: Three seats
  • State Senate: 16 seats
  • State House: All 150 seats

AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, says it’s dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older, to choose how they live as they age. The group works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families, such as health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment, the AARP said.

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. For updates, click or tap here.