Your Rights at the Polls in Texas

What to know about the voting experience you’re entitled to

If the polls close while you're in line, you can still vote. Stay in line.

If your name is not on the list of registered voters, you are still entitled to a provisional ballot. Election officials will determine later if you are qualified and registered to vote.

If you are confused, you are entitled to written instructions or to ask a polling place officer or worker about how to cast a ballot (but not who to vote for).

If you make a mistake on your ballot, you can have a new one (and a second one, but after three ballots you're done).

If the machines are down at your polling place, you should get a paper ballot.

If you have trouble speaking or reading English, you may bring an interpreter of your choice (anyone except an employer, an agent of your employer, or an agent or officer of your union).

If you have one of the seven forms of accepted photo ID, you don't need to show another form of ID. You can even vote with an expired or out-of-state ID after signing a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.

If a poll watcher is watching or recording you fill out your ballot, they're messing up. Your ballot should be secret.

Who can help? If you experience voter intimidation or have any concern about a violation of your rights, talk to election officers or poll workers at your location. You can also call the Texas secretary of state's helpline at 800/252-VOTE (8683) to reach state attorneys who will answer questions and assist; the Texas Democratic Party Voter Protection team at 844/TX-VOTES (898-6837); or the national Election Protection Hotline at 866/OUR-VOTE (687-8683) or, for Spanish, 888/VE-Y-VOTA (839-8682).

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Maggie Q. Thompson
Calling All Austin Elders: May We Interview You?
Calling All Austin Elders: May We Interview You?
The Chronicle is starting a series on elders’ lives in Austin

Nov. 17, 2023

To Keep Teens Out of Jail, Travis County Pilots First of its Kind Program for Those Accused of Assaulting Caregivers
To Keep Teens Out of Jail, Travis County Pilots First of its Kind Program for Those Accused of Assaulting Caregivers
Kids in the program get resources to stabilize

Nov. 8, 2023


November 2022 Elections

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle