Know Before You Vote: What to Expect on Election Day in Texas

Vote poster

AUSTIN — Ahead of Election Day in Texas and across the nation tomorrow, Texas Secretary of State John Scott is reminding voters, observers and members of the media on how votes are counted and reported once polls close at 7:00 p.m. local time on Election Night. In Texas, results from Early Voting are submitted by Texas counties and reported first, shortly after polls close on Election Night. Results from ballots cast on or by Election Day are then reported gradually throughout the evening until 100% of precincts and polling places in all 254 Texas counties have reported.

The Texas Secretary of State’s office serves as the host of the statewide Election Night Returns portal for unofficial results reported by Texas counties on Election Night.


“Remember that every election in Texas is conducted at the county level in all 254 Texas counties, with hard-working Elections Administrators, County Clerks and thousands of dedicated poll workers all working collaboratively to safeguard the integrity of the vote count,” Secretary Scott said.

“Be patient as county election officials work to report the results accurately over several hours throughout Election Night.”

Once all Early Voting results are reported, Texas counties continue to report results from ballots cast on Election Day, which are updated on the Texas SOS Election Night Returns portal every 5 minutes until 100% of precincts and polling places have reported. Under Texas law, mail-in ballots postmarked by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day may be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9th to be included in the final, official canvass of votes. Additionally, mail-in ballots cast by U.S. military members and U.S. citizens voting from overseas can be received by Monday, November 14th.

Election Day Voting Locations

If a county participates in the Countywide Polling Place Program (CWPP) – commonly referred to as ‘Vote Centers’ – voters can cast a ballot at any location in their county of residence on Election Day.

If a county does not have Countywide Polling on Election Day, voters must cast their ballot at a location in their specific voter registration precinct, which is based on the residence address on the voter’s registration record. In some cases, precincts may be combined to accommodate joint local elections.

View a list of counties with Countywide Polling – or ‘Vote Centers’ – on Election Day.

If you’re a Texas voter planning to cast your ballot on Election Day, you can find your polling location by using the SOS My Voter Portal,” which is populated with voting sites on Election Day. To view Election Day polling locations in your county, login using the ‘Am I Registered?’ section on the SOS My Voter Portal, and enter your Name, Date of Birth, County and ZIP code, or other combinations of personal information, to login. Your voting precinct number (Pct. No.) is also located next to your year of birth on your voter registration certificate.

Election Day voting hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at all polling places statewide.

For specific questions regarding polling places, always consult your County Elections Office


What To Expect At The Polling Place

Voter ID Requirements

Under Texas law, voters who possess one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID must present that ID at the polls when voting in person. The acceptable forms of photo ID are:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

Voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven approved forms of photo ID may fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration (RID) (PDF) at the polls and present an alternative form of ID, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or a voter registration certificate.

Here is a list of the supporting forms of ID that can be presented if the voter does not possess one of the forms of acceptable photo ID and cannot reasonably obtain one:

  • copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate;
  • copy of or original current utility bill;
  • copy of or original bank statement;
  • copy of or original government check;
  • copy of or original paycheck; or
  • copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).

Learn more about Voter ID requirements in Texas.

Activities inside the Polling Place

Electioneering Inside the 100 Foot Marker

When you go to your polling place, you will likely notice a cone or other distance marker placed 100 feet from the entrance of the building. Inside that 100 foot mark, you are not allowed to electioneer for or against a candidate or measure on the current ballot, and cannot post, use or distribute any political signs or literature relating to a candidate, political party or measure appearing on the current ballot. The Texas Election Code also prohibits operating a sound amplification device for purposes of electioneering for or against a candidate, measure or political party within 1,000 feet of a building where a polling place is located.

Cell Phones and Other Devices

Under Texas law, persons are not allowed to use wireless communications devices within 100 feet of the voting stations. Additionally, persons are not allowed to use mechanical or electronic devices to record sound or images within 100 feet of the voting stations.

Devices that should not be used in the polling place include:

  • Cell phones
  • Cameras
  • Tablet computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Sound recorders
  • Any other device that may communicate wirelessly, or can be used to record sound or images.


What Can’t Voters Wear to the Polls?

In Texas, a person may not wear apparel or anything else related to a candidate, measure, or political party appearing on the ballot in the current election, but a person may wear apparel relating to a candidate, measure, or political party that does NOT appear on the ballot in the current election.

In other words, if you are wearing a hat, t-shirt, or button relating to a candidate, measure or political party that does not appear on the ballot in the current election, you are not violating Texas law.

However, if you are wearing apparel relating to a candidate, measure, or political party on the ballot, a presiding judge has the ability to enforce the law within the 100 foot marker outside of the polling place entrance. You may be asked to remove or cover up your apparel before entering the building.

Learn more about voting in person in Texas.



Reporting Unofficial Results on Election Night

Once the polls close at 7:00 p.m. local time, counties will first begin reporting early vote totals through the SOS Election Night Returns portal. Once all early vote totals are in, which include both in-person early votes and mail-in ballots cast before Election Day, counties then begin reporting results from ballots cast on Election Day.

Upon entering the Election Night Returns portal, results can be filtered by federal, statewide and district offices, as well as by county, in order to view results for specific races in each of Texas’ 254 counties. You can also designate a ‘favorite’ race to monitor by clicking the star next to the office, and save the election results feed for that office in your dashboard.

All information in the SOS Election Night Returns portal is reported by Texas county election officials. The Texas Secretary of State’s office does not alter or modify the data provided in any way. 

In many cases, local county election officials may update election results on their own respective web sites (a list of which can be found here) before updating their results through the SOS Election Night Returns portal.

Discrepancies between the results displayed on county web sites and on the Texas Secretary of State’s web site is solely the result of a county election office not yet updating its results into the SOS portal before posting the same results on their own county web site. The Texas Secretary of State’s office is in frequent communication with Texas county election officials to resolve any errors in unofficial results reporting throughout Election Night and the following day.

Unofficial results reported to the Texas Secretary of State on Election Night are refreshed every 5 minutes until election results in 100% of precincts and polling places in all 254 counties have been reported to the Texas SOS office.

Unofficial and Official Reconciliation Reports

Under Section 127.131(f) of the Texas Election Code, the presiding judge of the central counting station in each county is required to provide and attest to a written reconciliation of ballots cast and voters checked in after all votes have been tabulated. Each county is required to post the completed reconciliation report on its web site, along with unofficial election returns and results.

View a template of the Preliminary Election Reconciliation – Unofficial Totals form and the information it includes.

After the canvass of votes at the local level – which typically occurs 10-14 days after Election Day – county election officials must complete another final reconciliation form to show how many outstanding ballots were included – and not included – in the final count. This includes late-arriving mail-in ballots from U.S. military members and U.S. citizens voting from overseas, as well as voters who corrected a defect on a mail-in ballot or provisional ballot.

View a template of the Election Reconciliation – Official Totals form and the information it includes.


Learn more about all of these topics in the latest episode of SOS 101: Casting & Counting Your Ballot.

To learn more about voting in Texas, visit