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Secretary Pablos Working To Ensure Voters Affected By Severe Weather Have Unimpeded Access To The Ballot Box

October 18, 2018
Updated October 19, 2018
Contact: Sam Taylor

AUSTIN – With the Early Voting period beginning on Monday, October 22nd, Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos today announced he is working closely with Governor Abbott's office, county elections administrators, party officials, and elected officials in each of the Central Texas counties impacted by recent severe weather to ensure all registered Texas voters in the affected areas will have unimpeded access to the ballot box.

The Texas Secretary of State's office has contacted election officials in all 54 counties in Governor Abbott's recent State Disaster Declaration to provide immediate guidance and assess election office closures, equipment damage, issues with polling locations, web site availability, and any other ongoing issues as a result of severe weather. Additionally, the Texas Secretary of State's office is in contact with both party and elected officials to gather additional information and ensure that any Texas voters affected by severe weather will be accommodated when preparing to cast their ballots.

As severe weather and flooding continues to impact Texans, Secretary Pablos reminded Texas voters to prioritize their safety and offered guidance to voters seeking to cast their ballots in the upcoming General Election.

"Our office is committed to providing resources and information Texans who have been affected or displaced by the recent flooding in Central Texas, and we are maintaining daily contact with election administrators, party officials, and elected officials in the affected Texas counties to ensure they have the resources they need to continue normal election operations unabated when Early Voting begins next week," Secretary Pablos said. "We strongly encourage Texans to visit VoteTexas.gov to learn about their options for early voting, ballot by mail, and election day polling locations. In the meantime, we urge Texans facing the challenges of severe weather to stay safe as they recover from the effects of the storm."

Secretary Pablos is providing the following tips and recommendations for voters affected by severe weather:

  • Vote early. During the Early Voting period from October 22nd to November 2nd, Texas voters can cast a ballot at any polling location in their county of registration. On Election Day, only counties participating in the Countywide Polling Place Program (CWPP) allow voters to cast a ballot at any location in their county of registration.
  • Voters can use the Texas Secretary of State's "Am I Registered?" tool to check their registration status, look up their nearest polling location, and view Early Voting locations in their county of registration.
  • Check with your county elections administrator for up-to-date information on polling locations, closures, and hours.
  • If you are temporarily displaced and intend to return to your residence of registration, you can vote as usual at your county polling place.
  • The best option if you consider yourself to be only temporarily away from your residence in the area affected by severe weather and want to remain registered at that address is to vote by mail.
  • Voters wishing to vote by mail must submit an Application for a Ballot by Mail (PDF) to their county election office. The application must b received no later than Friday, October 26, 2018. The application may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the early voting clerk. We recommend that voters contact their county early voting clerk to confirm the current preferred method submitting an Application for a Ballot by Mail.
  • If you are submitting your Application for Ballot By Mail by fax or e-mail, the original hard copy of the application MUST be mailed and received by the early voting clerk no later than the 4th business day after it was originally submitted.
  • Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of acceptable photo identification, may present a supporting form of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, noting the voter’s reasonable impediment to obtaining an acceptable form of photo identification, stating that the information contained in the declaration is true, that the voter is the same individual personally appearing at the polling place to sign the declaration, and that the voter faces a reasonable impediment to procuring an acceptable form of photo identification.
  • Voters in the counties covered by the Governor’s disaster declaration for whom their ID for voting has been destroyed or cannot be accessed due to the natural disaster have the ability to vote a provisional ballot without an identification, appear at their voter registrar’s office within 6 calendar days after election day, and sign an affidavit stating that the voter does not have any of the identification required by Section 63.001(b) of the Texas Election Code either due to the destruction or inability to access the identification as a result of the natural disaster declared by the Governor (PDF) in order for their ballot to be counted.
  • Learn more about identification requirements for voting by visiting VoteTexas.gov

Voters affected by both Hurricane Harvey and the recent severe weather can visit www.votetexas.gov/harvey to learn more about options for voters affected by natural disasters.