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2020 Texas election guide: Everything you need to know to make sure your vote counts

November 3 is Election Day and we've got what you need to cast your ballot.

KBMT (12NewsNow)

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The 2020 election is being called one of the most critical elections in a generation. While some may argue that term is used in every election cycle, it's hard to disagree that the lead up to election day is divisive. 

While President of the United States headlines the ballot, Texans will also be casting votes for U.S. Senate, several house races as well as deciding the balance of power in Austin. 

On election nights, all results will be posted at 12NewsNow.com/elections.

Below is information you need to know as you prepare to cast your vote.        

Key dates for the November 3 general elections      

  • October 5: Last day to register to vote
  • October 13: Early voting begins
  • October 23: Last day to apply for ballot by mail
  • October 30: Last day of voting early by personal appearance                                       
  • Last day to receive ballot by mail - November 3 at 7 p.m. if carrier envelope is not postmarked or November 4 at 5 p.m. if carrier envelope is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day 

What to bring to polling locations  

You don't want to get to a polling location and not be ready. There are certain types of ID you need to show before you cast your ballot. We've compiled a list of all of the acceptable ID forms here.                       

What to know about mail-in voting in Texas

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be a surge in mail-in voting. You have to meet certain criteria to cast your ballot by mail. They are: 

  • Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period
  • Sick or disabled
  • 65 years of age or older on Election Day
  • Confined in jail, but eligible to vote

How to register to vote

You can register by mail to vote in Texas by printing a voter registration form, filling it out and mailing it to your local election office (you can fill it out digitally here). You can also register to vote in person if you prefer.

To register in Texas you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of the county in which the application for registration is made
  • be at least 17 years and 10 months old (you must be 18 to vote)
  • not be finally convicted of a felony, or if a convicted felon, you must have fully discharged your punishment, including any incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation or be pardoned
  • have not been declared mentally incompetent by final judgment of a court of law