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Worried your mail-in ballot won't get there in time? In Texas there's only one alternative

You can't just drop your ballot off at the polls.

As the November election approaches, many are starting to wonder what their options are for casting their ballot amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Texas, if you're eligible to vote by mail, you may have a few more options than an in-person voter, but perhaps not as many as you might think. 

Ballot drop boxes have recently gained national attention as more states turn to mail-in voting while the United States Postal Service faces rising criticism for slow delivery times. The service has already warned that many states may experience delays or issues with their mail-in ballots this year, including Texas.

RELATED: Ballot drop boxes seen as a way to bypass the post office

RELATED: Texas among states Postal Service warns of delayed mailed-in ballots

But in Texas, the state's election code does not allow counties to implement drop boxes for mail-in ballots, officials with the Denton County Elections Department said. 

Those looking to vote by mail without the mail being involved can head to their county's elections office to hand-deliver their ballots instead of mailing them in.

Voters will not, however, be allowed to hand-deliver a ballot to a polling location. It must be the election office. 

Ballots brought to the office will be accepted up until 7 p.m. on Election Day, which is Nov. 3. But, they must be brought to the office by the voter with one of the state's accepted forms of photo ID. The voter will then sign off on their submission. 

If someone who had planned to vote by mail now wishes to vote in person, though, they can simply bring their empty ballot to a polling place, surrender it, and then cast a new ballot, Denton officials said. 

Officials are also encouraging voters to cast their ballots during early voting, which has been extended from the normal two-week period to three weeks. Early voting will take place Oct. 13-30 in Texas. 

Those who want to submit an application to vote by mail must do so by Oct. 23, though elections officials are encouraging voters to get them in as early as possible so that they have more time to receive and submit their ballot. 

To vote by mail in Texas, you must be: 

  • 65 years or older
  • disabled
  • out of the county on Election Day and during early voting
  • confined in jail

Voters who haven't yet registered must do so by Oct. 5 to cast a ballot this November. 

For more information about voting in Texas, click here.


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