To the polls: Everything you need to know to make sure your vote counts
Enthusiastic attendees of the Defender and Texas Children's Hospital-sponsored Early Voting Rally, Oct. 22, 2022. Photo by Jimmie Aggison.

Important dates

Election Day

Nov. 8

Polls open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Early in-person voting

Ends Nov. 4

More than 25 million people have already cast their ballots, including 150,000 voters in Harris County. While that’s down from 2018, election officials are hopeful that people will show up by the end of early voting or on Election Day.

Texas’ Nov. 8 general election includes races for U.S. House, state House and Senate, governor and several other state offices. We’ve compiled everything you need to know as you head to the polls.

What is the Senate Bill 1 voting law?

A GOP attempt at voter suppression, we mean, a new state law that was introduced in 2021 and changed voting in Texas. It includes:

  • A ban on drive-through and 24-hour early voting.
  • Election officials are no longer allowed to send unsolicited vote-by-mail application forms to voters.
  • Mail-in-ballot voters must now provide ID on both the application and the return carrier envelope for their completed ballot.
  • Those who assist someone else in filling out a ballot at the polls must sign a form disclosing their relationship to the voter. They also must recite an oath stating that they did not pressure or coerce the voter into choosing them as their assistant.
  • Also, a new redistricting plan has changed the boundaries of some state legislative and U.S. congressional districts and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.

What races are on the ballot and who’s running?

U.S. House: all 38 seats; Texas gained two seats in the House, as determined by population growth in the 2020 census

State Senate: all 31 seats

State House: all 150 seats

Governor: incumbent Greg Abbott (R), Beto O’Rourke (D)

Lt. Governor: Mike Collier (D), Dan Patrick (R)

Attorney General: Rochelle Mercedes Garza (D), Ken Paxton (R)

State courts

Visit the secretary of state’s website for more races and sample ballots.

Got a question? Here’s the answer.

Q. I didn’t register to vote. Is it too late?

A. Unfortunately, yes. The last day to register to vote was Oct. 11.

Q. How can I check to see if I’m registered to vote?

A. Visit

Q. Do I need identification to vote?

A. YES! You must present an acceptable form of photo ID, which include a Texas driver’s license, election ID certificate, personal ID card, handgun license, U.S. military ID with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo or a U.S. passport.

Q. I don’t have a photo ID, can I still vote?

A. Yes, simply fill out a declaration at your polling place, where you must also present one of the acceptable forms of supporting ID, such as a certified copy of a domestic birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check; or the voter registration certificate from your county voter registrar.

Q. I left my photo ID. Can I still vote?

A. If you have an acceptable photo ID but don’t have it at your polling place, you can still vote a provisional ballot. You will have six days — until Monday, Nov. 14 — to present the acceptable ID to your county registrar or to process an exemption in order for your vote to count.

Q. Where can I vote early?

A. Any qualified voter may vote in person at the main early voting polling place or at any other designated early voting branch location during designated times. To find early voting locations visit:, or 

Q. They said they can’t find my name on the roster. What should I do?

A. Whatever you do, don’t leave! If you are sure you registered, ask to be given a provisional ballot.

Q. What devices can I take in the polling location?

A. Wireless communication devices are prohibited within the polling location. The taking of photographs is prohibited within the polling location.

Q. Can I vote straight-party?

A. No. The straight-party voting option (straight-ticket) was outlawed in 2020 after a bill was signed by Abbott in 2017.

Q. How will I know my vote was counted?

A. Take your printed ballot to the ballot scanner and insert it into the scanner. Your ballot is cast when you see a confirmation screen on the scanner.

Q. Can I bring someone to help me?

A. Yes. On the voter’s request, the voter may be assisted by any person selected by the voter other than the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs.

Q. What all needs to go on my mail-in ballot?

A. Note that new state law requires you to provide either your Texas driver’s license number, Texas personal ID number or election ID certificate number (which is different from your voter unique identifier number) on your mail-in ballot application and the return carrier envelope for your voted ballot. If you have not been issued one of these numbers, you can submit the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Q. Can I track my absentee ballot?

A. Yes. You can check the status of your mail-in ballot as well as correct any missing or incorrect information identified by county election officials via the state’s official online Ballot by Mail Tracker.

Q. Where can I find my polling location?

A. Note that the recent redistricting in Texas means your polling location may have changed. Visit to check your location.

Q. I’m disabled. Will I still be able to vote?

A. All polling places in Texas must be accessible for voters. If you require assistance to cast your ballot you may receive assistance from either a person of your choosing (aside from your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union) or from two election workers. Those who assist others must sign a form disclosing their relationship to the voter. They also must recite an oath stating they did not pressure or coerce the voter into choosing them as an assistant.

Q. What if a poll watcher says I’m not allowed in to vote.

A. No one other than a certified election worker can tell you your voting status. Do not be intimidated by anyone, let alone someone claiming to be a poll watcher.

Q. The line in my neighborhood is long. Can I take voters something to eat or drink?

A. No. Because of Senate Bill 1, you are no longer allowed to pass out beverages or food at voting locations. 

Q. Does my vote really matter?

A. ABSOLUTELY! Critical races are on the ballot, with candidates who will decide everything from what books children read in schools, to what a woman can and can’t do to her body, to what services your neighborhood receives. Many of these races will be decided by a small margin. EVERY vote is crucial.

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