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The procrastinator’s guide to voting on Election Day 2020 in Texas

A cheat sheet for voters who haven’t had time to prepare

FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: Find more information and resources about the election on our Vote 2020 page. Be the first to get the election results by downloading our mobile app or signing up for our breaking news email alerts.

It’s the date you’ve been hearing about all year and it’s quickly approaching.

Yes, Nov. 3 is Election Day.

And while a majority of Bexar County voters have taken advantage of the extended early voting period which continues through Oct. 30, there are still thousands of voters who still haven’t cast their ballots. Maybe they like the pomp and circumstance of actually voting on Election Day, or maybe they’re procrastinators. No judgment.

If you happened to fall in the second category and still need a little help following through, we’re here for you with everything you need to know to vote on Tuesday.

First, you need to know if you’re registered to vote. If you’re not sure, you can click here to find out.

Where to Vote

Bexar County voters can vote in ANY polling location in the county during early voting as well as on Election Day.

That’s also the case for voters in Atascosa, Comal, DeWitt, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall and Medina County thanks to the Countywide Polling Place Program, which allows users to vote anywhere in their county during early voting and on Election Day.

Bexar County voters might want to be strategic and find a polling place that’s maybe less popular than some of the busiest ones. If you need some ideas, you can check out this article where we listed the busiest and slowest Bexar County polling locations during early voting. There’s also an app where you can check the current wait times.

Otherwise, click here for a list of all of the polling locations in Bexar County.

If you do not live in one of those counties or prefer to vote in your precinct, you can check your poll location through your county or through the Secretary of State’s website.

Click here to view Bexar County’s voter precincts.

Don’t Forget Your ID

You will be required to show identification to vote in Texas. Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

Your ID may be expired no more than four years unless you’re 70-years-old, and then the acceptable form of ID can be expired for any length of time.

If a voter has one of the acceptable forms of IDs but forgets to bring it to the polling place, the voter can vote provisionally. That voter will then have six days to present a photo ID to the county voter registrar or fill out a natural disaster affidavit, or the vote will not count.

If you do not have one of the acceptable forms of ID and cannot reasonably obtain one, you can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration at your place of voting and must show one of the following supporting forms of ID:

  • copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter registration certificate;
  • copy of or original current utility bill;
  • copy of or original bank statement;
  • copy of or original government check;
  • copy of or original paycheck; or
  • copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).
On the Ballot

The most-talked about race is obviously the one that will decide who will be president and vice president for the next four years.

Texas recognizes four political parties -- The Democratic Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party and Republican Party.

Here are your choices on the November ballot:

  • Donald J. Trump /Michael R. Pence REP
  • Joseph R. Biden /Kamala D. Harris DEM
  • Jorgensen /Jeremy “Spike” Cohen LIB
  • Howie Hawkins /Angela Walker GRN
  • Or you can write-in a candidate’s name

In the United States, even if one of the candidates gets the most votes, it doesn’t guarantee they will become president. That’s because we have the electoral college and a candidate must get 270 electoral college votes to win. This article explains more about how it works.

But the presidential race isn’t the only one on the ballot. The General Election ballot in Texas will include other federal, state and county races as well as city and school district races, depending on your precinct.

San Antonio voters will be tasked to decide the outcomes of two 1/8 cent sales tax propositions.

If you are registered to vote in Bexar County, you can check out the sample ballots here.

Otherwise, you can check your county’s ballot here on the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

Big Races in Bexar County
Candidate Information

If you’re looking for information on the candidates, you may want to check out the League of Women Voters in Texas 2020 General Election Non-Partisan Voters Guide. It’s available both in English and Spanish.

What You Must Bring to the Polls

You will be required to show identification to vote in Texas. Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

Your ID may be expired no more than four years unless you’re 70 years old, and then the acceptable form of ID can be expired for any length of time.

If a voter has one of the acceptable forms of IDs but forgets to bring it to the polling place, the voter can vote provisionally. That voter will then have six days to present a photo ID to the county voter registrar or fill out a natural disaster affidavit, or the vote will not count.

If you do not have one of the acceptable forms of ID and cannot reasonably obtain one, you can fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration at your place of voting and must show one of the following supporting forms of ID:

  • copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter registration certificate;
  • copy of or original current utility bill;
  • copy of or original bank statement;
  • copy of or original government check;
  • copy of or original paycheck; or
  • copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).

Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption to the photo ID requirement.

What NOT to Bring to the Polls

Unless you’re a peace officer, Section 46.03(a) of the Texas Penal Code generally prohibits a person from bringing a firearm onto the premises of a polling place.

Voters are not allowed to use their phones or other wireless communications devices within 100 feet of the voting stations including:

  • Cell phones
  • Cameras
  • Tablet computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Sound recorders
  • Any device that may communicate wirelessly or be used to record sound or images

Voters cannot wear clothing or bring signs expressing a preference for or against any candidate, measure, or political party within 100 feet of the voting station.

Voters are allowed to bring in written materials to help them in casting their ballots, so you can make notes about candidates beforehand and reference them as you vote as long as they’re not visible to other voters or used to campaign for a candidate.

About Face Masks

While Texans are not mandated by the state to wear masks while voting, the Secretary of State’s office is encouraging it, along with other health precautions.

State officials urge voters to practice proper social distancing and hygiene standards and to self-screen for any COVID-19 symptoms before going to the polls.

Voters who are sick on Election Day may be able to vote curbside and are encouraged to contact their county election’s office with questions about the process.

Hand sanitizer may be provided at polling places but voters are encouraged to bring their own and disinfect their hands before interacting with election workers or using voting system equipment.

Bexar County polling places will be stocked with hand sanitizer, styluses and masks for voters to use, county officials said.

Remember that, just as you can’t wear political clothing to polling locations, politically-themed face masks are also not allowed.

Here’s How You Will Vote

Texas uses three methods to vote: (The following information comes directly from the Secretary of State’s office.)

  • Paper ballots are still used as the primary way of voting in a number of Texas counties. Voters mark their ballot by hand with an indelible marker (a marker that cannot be erased) or pen and place their finished ballot in a ballot box. Local election officials then count the votes by hand.
  • Optical scan voting systems enable voters to mark their choices on preprinted ballots by either connecting “arrows” or filling in “bubbles” next to the candidates' names. The paper ballot is then inserted into an electronic ballot counter, which then counts the marked “bubbles” or “arrows” on each ballot and automatically computes the totals for each candidate and/or issue.
  • DREs (Direct Record Electronic systems) enable voters to record their choices electronically directly into the machine. There are several types of DREs (some have a dial while others use a touch screen), but essentially they all enable voters to move back and forth between screens (ballot pages) to select the candidates and/or issues for whom they wish to vote. Once a voter has made his or her choices, the DRE provides a summary screen that presents those choices and gives the voter the ability to go back and make any changes before pressing the “Vote” or “Cast Ballot” button. One of the benefits of a DRE system is that it prevents “over-voting”; that is, it stops the voter from selecting two candidates or options in a race where only one is allowed. As well, a DRE gives the voter an opportunity to correct “under-voting,” or failing to select any candidate or option in a race.

Each voting location must offer at least one accessible voting system that enables the blind, elderly, physically disabled, and non-reading Texans to vote independently and in private.

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see which system your county uses and get step-by-step voting instructions.

Here’s Where to Find the Results

KSAT will have election results on our app, our homepage and our Vote 2020 page.

You can also get election results from these websites:

More Resources

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