Hello! My name is Donna. I’m just your regular, 28-year-old gal who believes that as U.S. citizens, we should exercise our right to vote for our local, state, and national government officials and judicial system! I know this is my food/recipe blog and has nothing to do with politics, but hey, this is my blog after all and I will be posting whatever I want!
As an immigrant who became a permanent resident and eventually a U.S. citizen in 2014, I am empowered knowing that I can bring positive changes to my community by exercising my voting rights – I want you to experience that feeling too!
As a voter, you have the power to decide on the quality of life that you want for yourself and future generations. Your voice matters. Voting is a chance to stand up for the issues you care about! Voting gives us the chance to support candidates and propositions that can help our community, state, and even the entire country. I am hoping that you will want to make your voice heard in these elections and make the decision to vote for yourself and those around you.
You may be wondering why I’ve decided to put this information together – I have an answer for you! When I became a U.S. citizen and a major election day came (Texas Senator), I was genuinely confused about the process – from the logistics of registering to actually voting. I recall standing in front of the electronic kiosk getting ready to make a selection – I thought I was only voting for 1 person and was surprised to find a long list of candidates spanning multiple pages running for City Council, Judges, as well as propositions for future funding, etc. I ended up skipping those and missed an opportunity to vote for someone other than a Senator.
Yes, you can just Google everything or go to vote.org to find information. However, I find that doing so will give you either TOO much information or they use such formal language that may be difficult to understand exactly how to vote, what & who you are voting for, why you are voting, and when to vote. In short, it is hard to decipher the relevant information and at the end of it all, you may be too overwhelmed to vote.
So I’m putting this information together for new voters or if you’ve voted before, and have found yourself in a similar predicament where you are unsure of who you’re voting for in the Texas Primary Runoff Election. My goal is to simplify the process so that hopefully you are better equipped during this upcoming election cycle and future elections!
A few disclaimers before you start diving in:
- For each topic below, I sourced information/answers from official state websites such as vote.org, vote411.org, votetexas.gov, sos.texas.gov/elections, etc.
- Since I live in Houston, TX, the majority of the information below is specific to Houston/Harris County or the State of Texas. I include links on how to find information about other states’ election where I can.
- If I list out a how-to method for the topics below (e.g. how to register), it does not mean it’s the ONLY way – I’ve listed out what I believe would be the easiest way to accomplish those tasks.
- I do not work for the government and I do not know everything about politics/elections, but I’ve done countless of hours of research and made sure, to the best of my ability, that the information I’ve provided below is as accurate as possible. If I misspoke, please let me know and I’ll make sure to fix the error.
- With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, dates and methods of voting may change. I will make sure to update this document as often as I can with the most up-to-date information (LAST UPDATED JUNE 4, 2020).
General Information // Q&A
There are countless of questions when it comes to voting. Below are the handpicked questions that I hear of the most often from friends & family, or the question that I find myself asking almost every election I’ve participated in.
Q: Why are we having a Texas Primary Runoff election on July 14th?
A: On March 3rd, Texas had its regular Primary Election, however, no candidate received more than 50% of our votes. The run-off election candidates are the ones who came in first and second. The purpose of the primary [runoff] election is to finalize which candidates will be on the ballot for the general election in November.
did you know: If you voted in the March 3, 2020 Primary, you can only vote in the runoff election of the same party (Democrat or Republican).
Q: When is Texas Primary Runoff election?
A: Early Voting is between June 29th – July 10th, 2020 | Main election day for Texas Primary Runoff is on July 14th, 2020
Q: How can I vote?
A: In-person via Early Voting:
- June 29th – July 2nd @ 7am – 7pm
- July 5th @ 10am – 7pm
- July 6th – July 10th @ 7am – 7pm.
– In-person via Election Day: Tuesday, July 14, 2020
– Ballot by mail: details at the end of this document*
Q: Can I do Early Voting?
A: Yes, you may! Any registered voter may vote early in person. But of course, you must vote in your county of registration.
Q: I’m not sure if I’m registered to vote. How do I check?
A: Go to this website! It takes 30 seconds!
- For Texas: If you don’t remember if you’re registered, you most likely don’t remember your voter ID. You can use your TDL # (Texas Drivers License) & Date of Birth to “login”. If you’re registered, this will lead you to a page where you can see your Voter Information – your voter status (active, etc.), county (Harris, Fort Bend, etc.), and your VUID #, and much more! https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do
- For Other States: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/
Q; It turns out I’m not registered to vote. Is it too late to register?
A: For Primary runoff election, your deadline to register is June 15th! Deadlines for November General Election differs per state… so hurry up and click here to register – it takes two seconds! For Texas, our deadline is October 5, 2020. You can also register by mail. You will have to request a postage-paid application by filling out this form and it will be mailed to you.
For the rest of USA, find out how to register in your county/state by clicking here.
Q: Alright, I’m registered and ready to vote! Where do I go to vote?
A: If you live in Harris County (where I’m assuming most the people who follow me do), you can find polling locations using this website (this may not be ‘live’ yet until closer to Early Voting date). I am not sure about other counties in Houston, but please note that in Harris County there are different locations for Early Voting vs. Election Day. Please pay attention when you make this selection on the website.
If you live in Texas, you can use the same link where you checked your registration to find polling locations. After logging in, you will see a box that will be populated with links such as voting sites, a few days before early voting begins.
Q: I’m registered to vote, but I recently moved within the past year. What do I do?
A: If you moved within the same county, you may submit the “in county” change online by clicking here. The last day to make a change of address for the July 14th Primary Runoff Election is June 15, 2020. If you moved to a new county, you must re-register in your new county of residence by June 15th, to be eligible to vote in the July 14th Primary Runoff Election.
Q: Do I need to bring my voter certificate card/ID? Will I be able to vote without it?
A: No, you do not need it to vote. However, if you do not have a valid form of photo ID, your voter registration form can work as an ID!
Q: Oops, my acceptable form of photo ID is expired… can I still vote?
A: If you are between the age 18-69, your photo ID cannot be expired for more than 4 years when you’re at the polling place. For ages 70+, it can be expired for any length of time.
Q: Does the address on my acceptable form of photo ID have to match the address on my registration?
A: Nope! There is no address matching requirement!
Other Very Important Facts That You May Not Know
- If you voted Democrat/Republican in the Primary or Runoff, you are not obligated to vote for that party’s candidates in the November General Election! You can vote for any candidate in the ballot!
- We are lucky in Texas because most Judges are elected by its residents! The fact that we get to participate in judicial races means that this is one of the most important things we can do as a Texas voter! Judges make decisions about fundamental issues that affect all of us – family life, education, healthcare, housing, employment, finances, DISCRIMINATION, CIVIL RIGHTS, public safety, and government actions. These decisions can have long-lasting impact on individuals, groups, and the public. It is critical that we vote for judges who can make fair decisions based upon open-minded and unbiased consideration of the facts and the law in each case.
- You are required to show an approved form of photo ID. However, if you do not have and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs, you can bring one of the supporting documents to the polling place. The officials should help you complete a form and you’ll be able to vote:
- Valid Voter Registration Certificate
- Certified Birth Certificate (must be original)
- Copy of original Bank Statement
- Copy of or original Government check or paycheck
- Copy of or original current Utility Bill
- Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)
For the next update, I’ll be tackling the most exciting part of voting – the Primary Runoff Election candidates! I know this is a lot of information so far, so hang with me! I will be going over all the positions we are voting for and the runoff candidates for each position, Democrat & Republican. Since most of my friends who will be reading are most likely in Harris County, I will be going over positions and candidates who are part of the Harris County election.
Ballot by Mail*
Voters may cast mail ballots if they are at least 65 years old, if they will be out of Harris County during the Early Voting period and on Election Day, if they are sick or disabled or if they are incarcerated but eligible to vote. Mail ballots may be requested by visiting harrisvotes.com or by phoning 713-755-6965. You can also download the mail ballot application here. A signed paper copy of your ballot by mail request must be received no later than Thursday, July 2, 2020. Requests received by fax or email will not be honored. The last day to receive ballot by mail is—
- Tuesday, July 14, 2020 (Election Day) at 7:00 p.m. if carrier envelope is not postmarked OR
- Wednesday, July 15, 2020 (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 (unless overseas or military voter deadlines apply)*