SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST/KSAN) — As early voting begins across Texas many voters may get the eerie feeling they’re filling out scantron tests in high school.

Remember those tests?

The instructions were always clear: fill the bubble completely using only a standard No. 2 pencil — no pens, no Sharpies. When the test was done your answer sheet was scanned by a machine that tabulated your score.

In Texas voting can be a little more complicated than filling out a standardized test.

Voting equipment and ballots vary across the state, so one precinct may have touchscreen voting machines and another precinct may have scantron-style ballots that are tabulated after you fill them out. According to, your precinct may even use different equipment on election day than they use during early voting.

While there’s a variety of voting equipment across the state, the Secretary of State’s Office says the primary method of voting in a number of counties is still hand-marked paper ballots. The preferred tool for paper ballots? Indelible marker — otherwise known as a Sharpie.

So what’s the answer? Should you use a pencil? A pen? A Sharpie?

Your best bet is to use the writing tools provided at your polling location. If a Sharpie or similar marker is required for your paper ballot, your polling place will provide one for you.

When it comes to filling out your ballots, you can safely put down your No. 2 pencils. Your polling location will give you what you need.