The Austin Chronicle

So, You Want to Vote by Mail – Now What?

Answers to your VBM questions

June 26, 2020, News

Q: How do I vote by mail?

A: To vote by mail, you must first apply for a ballot. The Travis County Elections Division only sends out applications or ballots on specific request from a voter.

Q: How do I apply for a ballot?

A: Down­load a ballot application at the Travis County Clerk's Office elections VBM webpage:; or an editable PDF version at the Texas Secretary of State's website: Print the application; fill it out; and then mail, fax, or email it to the Travis County Clerk (see below).

Q: How do I apply for a ballot if I don't have access to a printer?

A: According to the Travis County Clerk's website, you may also request a mail ballot in a letter (see website for specific instructions). You may also request a ballot application online from the Texas Secretary of State,, and an application will be mailed to you. But time is tight.

Q: I want to vote in the March primary run-off and SD-14 special election. What boxes do I need to check under boxes 6a/6b on the ballot application?

A: According to the Travis County Clerk's Office, a voter eligible to receive a ballot by mail due to being over 65 years old or claiming a disability may check "Annual Application" – thus applying for a ballot for each election in the calendar year, including any run-offs. If you want to vote in a primary, you must also choose a party. Alternatively, you may opt to receive a ballot for only a certain election, rather than all of them. In this case, you'd check the box for the appropriate election in section 6a (and "Any Resulting Runoff" if you wish).

If you're eligible for VBM due to being out of the country or in jail, you must submit an application for each election. They "must choose only one election per application (and 'Any Subsequent Runoff' if they wish) in Section 6b," according to the Clerk's Office.

Q: What's the deadline for applying for a ballot? What's the deadline for mailing in my ballot?

A: For the July elections, the last day to submit a request for a mail-in ballot is Thursday, July 2 (received by the Clerk's Office, not postmarked).

The deadline for sending in your actual ballot is July 14, postmarked; and July 15, received.

Q: I've filled out my ballot application – how/where do I send it?

A: You may submit your application by mail, email, or fax, but if you submit it by fax or email, it must also be sent by mail and received in the County Clerk's office within four business days of your electronic submission.

Email: Fax: 512/854-3969.

Mail: Dana DeBeauvoir

Travis County Clerk – Elections Division

PO Box 149325

Austin, TX 78714-9325

Q: If I apply for a ballot, can I still vote in person if I so decide? If so, what steps do I need to take?

A: "Yes," the Clerk's Office tells us. If you already received a ballot, "it is best if the voter brings the ballot to the early voting polling location to surrender it to an early voting clerk." There, you'll sign a form requesting cancellation of the ballot by mail and then vote normally at the polls. If you don't bring the mail ballot, you'll have to sign an affidavit saying you didn't mark and mail in the ballot; you'll then vote provisionally.

Q: How do I vote if I don't receive my ballot in time?

A: You'll need to go to a polling location and fill out an affidavit (see above).

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