How to Vote by Mail
Last Day to Submit a Ballot by Mail Application (received, not postmarked) for the election is Tuesday, November 7, 2023 (election day) at 7:00 p.m. if carrier envelope is not postmarked, OR Wednesday, November 8, 2023 (next business day after Election Day) at 5:00 p.m. if carrier envelope is postmarked by 7:00 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day.
Eligible, registered voters may vote by mail in Texas. To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:
- be 65 years or older;
- be sick or disabled;
- be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
- be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
Voters who are absent from the county or confined in jail/civilly committed may only apply for one election and its resulting runoff.
Recent Changes to Mail In Ballots:
If you’re a Texas voter who has cast your ballot by mail in recent years, you may have noticed some differences in your mail ballot materials this year. Voting by mail had substantial changes beginning with the March 2022 Primary Election. From changes in the application to changes in the requirements on the Ballot Carrier Envelope, and finally, to new options for correcting a problem with your ballot, voting by mail is not the same as it was in the past.
It’s important for all voters who are eligible to vote by mail to be aware of three substantial changes to the ballot by mail process in Texas. Understanding these three modifications of the election law will help you make sure your vote counts.
Click each Change below to get more information:
Not everyone in Texas is eligible to vote by mail. If you fall into one of these five categories, you are able to request an application to vote by mail from your local election office. These include those who are:
- 65 years of age or older;
- Disabled or have a sickness/physical condition that would prevent you from entering the polling place without injuring yourself or needing assistance;
- Expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day;
- Expected to be absent from your county during Early Voting and on Election Day; or
- Confined in Jail or Civilly Committed, but otherwise eligible to vote
With the new laws, be sure to fill out the application completely. One of the new requirements is that you must include an ID number on the application. This can be your Texas Driver’s License number, your Personal ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The vast majority of registered voters in Texas have both numbers on their voter registration record, but if you are unsure which number to put – you can feel free to put both just to be safe. The law only requires that one of the numbers matches a number on your voter registration record.
Remember: you will need to put this ID number on your application as well as your ballot carrier envelope.
Once you complete your ballot, put it in the white secrecy envelope and place it in the return ballot carrier envelope. Do not seal the envelope yet.
There are several pieces of information that you must provide on your ballot carrier-envelope before you seal the security flap. Just like you did on the application, you must put an ID number your Texas Driver’s License, Personal ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number in the space provided under the security flap of the envelope. This is similar to showing your photo ID if you vote in person. It ensures that the person who was supposed to vote on the ballot is, in fact, the person who completed and sent the ballot. These numbers are required in order for your vote to count.
After you fill this part out, you seal the envelope. The flap protects your personal information as it goes through the mail!
Be sure to sign the carrier envelope. If an assistant or witness helped you with the ballot and carrier-envelope, they must fill out the section of the envelope with their information completely.
Please make sure to mail your ballot with plenty of time for the election office to receive it. Ballots must be received by 5 p.m. the day after Election Day and postmarked no later than 7 p.m. Election Day to be counted.
Correcting Your Ballot
In the past, if you made a mistake when voting by mail, your ballot was rejected, with few — if any — opportunities for a second chance. With the new laws, you have the ability to correct a problem within six days after Election Day. You can also vote in person instead of by mail if you are aware of a problem by Election Day.
Adding a phone number or e-mail address to your carrier envelope is the best way for county officials to contact you regarding any issues with your ballot. The Early Voting Ballot Board will reach out if you provide your contact information on your mail ballot materials.
Many voters forgot to provide a personal ID number on the carrier in the March election. Correcting this is as easy as:
- Going to your elections office to certify your ID information within six days after Election Day;
- Going to www.votetexas.gov, and click ‘Track My Ballot’ to confirm your ID information within six days of Election Day; or
- Voting in person by the time polls close on Election Day.
By remembering a few key changes, you can make sure your vote will count. Fill everything out completely. Look over your application and ballot carrier-envelope carefully. Within a few elections, you will know exactly what to do.
Vote By Mail Instructions
Please complete and return your application no later than 11 days prior to the election for which the ballot is being requested.
Any ABBM sent to the Elections Department is required to have an original hand signature to be kept on file.
Electronic signatures CAN NOT be accepted.
Additionally, the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) is applicable for military and overseas voters. These voters will not use the ABBM forms. The FPCA can be found on FVAP.gov.
1.) Print and Complete an Application
Please print and fill out the following application:
- The process of voting and returning your mail ballot, make sure to follow the steps below:
- Use BLACK or BLUE ink to mark your choices on the ballot;
- Place voted ballot in the Ballot Envelope and seal it;
- Place Ballot Envelope in the enclosed pre-addressed County Clerk carrier envelope;
- Seal carrier envelope and sign where indicated exactly as you signed the ballot by mail request;
- Place appropriate postage and return it;
2.) Return Your Completed Application
Bexar County Elections (Early Voting Clerk)
1103 S. Frio St., Suite 200
San Antonio, TX 78207-6328
Please complete and return your application no later than 11 days prior to the election for which a ballot is requested.
A completed mail ballot MUST be returned to the Bexar County Elections Department in the Official Carrier Envelope provided to you. It may be returned in any of the following manners:
- Regular residential mail via United States Postal Service;
- Ballot must be postmarked by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day and must be received by 5:00 p.m. on November 4 (the day after Election Day)
- In-person drop off at Bexar County Elections Department (1103 S. Frio, San Antonio, TX 78207)
- During regular business hours,
- During The Hours of Early Voting
- On Election Day (November 3, 2020) from 7 am – 7 pm.
- You must present an acceptable form of photo identification
- If a voter does not possess and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo identification, the voter may show a List B identification and complete a reasonable impediment declaration (RID)
- Only the voter may deliver their ballot in person
- Common or contract carrier; such as personal courier, or FedEx or UPS, or other contracted mail service
- Ballot must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day
- If the carrier provides receipt mark indicating a time before 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, it may be received by 5:00 p.m. on November 4 (the day after Election Day)
3.) Complete and Send in Your Ballot
Bexar County Elections will send you an absentee ballot in the mail. The Early Voting Clerk must receive your marked ballot by 7:00 PM on Election Day.
*PLEASE NOTE: A voted ballot postmarked by Election Day must be received by the early voting clerk no later than 5:00 pm on the next business day after Election Day. If there is no postmarked, early voting clerk must receive these ballots by 7:00 pm on Election Day. Ballots from civilians abroad must be received by the early voting clerk no later than the 5th day after Election Day. Ballots from Military voters must be received by the early voting clerk no later than the 6th day after Election Day
Alternatively, it can be downloaded, completed by hand, and mailed to:
Early Voting Clerk
1103 S. Frio, Suite 200
San Antonio, Texas 78207-6328
- All mail ballot requests are reviewed to ensure compliance with the Texas Election Code. A voter who requests a mail ballot on the grounds of disability will be accepted as eligible for a mail ballot. Our office has no legal authority to administratively require voters to substantiate their disability at the time the application is submitted.
- A voter can take into consideration aspects of their health and their health history that are physical conditions in deciding whether, under the circumstances, to apply to vote by mail because of disability.
- The voter does not have to declare the nature of the underlying disability. The elected officials [the Legislature] have placed in the hands of the voter the determination of whether in-person voting will cause a likelihood of injury to a physical condition.
- State law defines a disability as a “sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on Election Day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.
- Under Texas law, you qualify as having a disability if you are sick, pregnant, or if voting in person will create a likelihood of injury to your health.
- The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that lack of immunity to COVID-19 can be considered as a factor in your decision as to whether voting in person will create a likelihood of injury to your health, but it cannot be the only factor. You do not qualify to vote by mail as “disabled” if you have a fear of contracting COVID-19 but are otherwise healthy. To qualify, you must have an accompanying physical condition. If you do not qualify as “disabled,” you may still qualify in one of the other categories (1-3 above).