Deadlines looming for voter registration, mail-in ballot applications

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In this Sept. 8, 2020 photo, voting booths are kept socially distant at the Chesterfield, N.H. polling site. A majority of President Donald Trump’s supporters plan to cast their ballot on Election Day, while about half of Joe Biden’s backers plan to vote by mail. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that finds 54% of voters say they will vote before polls open on Nov. 3. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Texans wanting to register to vote are running out of time.

The deadline to register to vote in the November 3 general election is October 5, which is Monday.

To register to vote, Texas residents can either go to their local elections office and fill out the form there, or go to VoteTexas.gov, download and fill out the form, and mail or take it to the local elections office.

You can find the address of your county elections official and office here.

You are eligible to vote if:

  • You are a United States citizen;
  • You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
  • You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on
  • Election Day.
  • You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

Another important deadline that is drawing closer is the date by which Texans must request an absentee ballot application.

Application for absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots, are available from your local elections office or by download from the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 23.

Keep in mind that not everyone in Texas is eligible to vote by mail. In order to be eligible, voters must be:

  • over the age of 65
  • disabled
  • out of the county during the early voting period and election day
  • incarcerated in jail.

If you are eligible, and once you’ve filled out the application, send it to your local elections office.

Elections officials urge voters to request their absentee ballots as soon as possible. Once the ballot arrives, read it carefully, follow the instructions to fully complete it, and mail it in.

Again, elections officials urge voters to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure they are received and counted in time.

“Once you receive your ballot in the mail, go ahead and vote that ballot and get it back in the mail,” said Karen Nelson, Smith County Elections Administrator. “You can drop it by the elections office anytime after you receive the ballot if you don’t want to go ahead and put it in the mail.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts anticipate that more people than ever in Texas and across the country will be taking advantage of absentee voting. In order to handle the expected increased volume, the USPS is suggesting that voters mail in their ballots at least two weeks before the deadline.

For those who are not eligible to or choose not to vote by mail, Governor Greg Abbott has extended the early voting period in Texas by almost a week.

Early voting in Texas begins October 13 and ends October 30.

When voting in person, either early or on election day, keep in mind that Texas has stringent voter ID requirements. You can see what the state requires and accepts here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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