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Elections – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact your office?

The telephone number for the Hays County Election Administrator’s Office is 512.393.7310.

We are located at the Hays County Government Center:

712 South Stagecoach Trail
Suite 1012
San Marcos, TX 78666-6294

Our e-mail address is elections@co.hays.tx.us and our website is https:/hayscountytx.com/elections/. 

Our fax number is 512.878.6699.

Who is eligible to register to vote in Hays County elections?

You are eligible if you are:

  • a United States citizen;
  • a resident of Hays County;
  • 18 years old (although you may register at 17 years and 10 months of age);
  • not be a convicted felon (unless your sentence is completed, including any probation or parole);
  • not be declared mentally incapacitated by a final judgment of a court.

You will remain registered as long as you remain eligible and notify us of address changes. Use this handy tool from the Texas Secretary of State to check the status of your voter registration.

Where can I get a voter registration application?

Voter registration applications are available at our office, other county offices, libraries, post offices, Texas Department of Public Safety offices, and Texas Department of Human Services.  Additionally, you may obtain an application by calling us at (512) 393-7310 or download the Hays County Voter Registration Application.  Please note that while the PDF is form-fillable, all modern browsers disable this functionality.

How soon before an election can I register and be able to vote?

Voter Registration

You may register to vote at any time. However, your application must be submitted 30 days before an election for you to be eligible to vote in that election.

Complete a postage-free post card application and mail it, or take it in person, to the Hays County Elections office.
You must be at least 17 years and 10 months of age on the date your application is submitted. If any of the information on the application is incomplete, you will be notified and required to send a second application. The second application must be received by the Hays County Election Administrator within 10 days.

Are you registered to vote in Texas? 

Check your voter registration BEFORE the election in which you wish to vote. Use this web tool from the Texas Secretary of State to find out if you are already registered in to vote in Texas.

Are You Eligible To Vote?

The Texas Secretary of State — the state’s election authority — says you can register to vote in Texas if you:

* are a U.S. citizen;

* are a resident of the county where you submit the application;

* will be at least 18 years old on Election Day;

* are not a convicted felon (though you may be eligible to vote * if you have completed your sentence, probation and parole); and have not been declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

After I have registered, when will I receive my Voter Registration Certificate?

You should receive a Voter Registration Certificate within 30 days of submitting your application. Check your certificate to make sure all information is correct. If there is a mistake, immediately make corrections and return the certificate to the registrar. Otherwise, sign and retain your Voter Registration Certificate.  Present your certificate at the Hays County polling place on election day. You will receive a new color-coded certificate every two years.

What do I do if I have changed my address, but still live in Hays County?

Promptly notify the Hays County Election Administrator in writing of your new address by:
      1. correcting the information on your current voter registration certificate and returning it to the voter registrar;            or
      2. completing a voter registration application and check the box for “change”; or
      3. making voter registration address changes when you update your driver’s license at DPS.

You will receive a new, corrected certificate. You will be able to vote in your new precinct 30 days after your notice has been received.

You must notify the Hays County Election Administrator of your change of address as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, you may vote a full ballot in your former precinct if your registration has not become effective in your new precinct. You will be required to complete a Statement of Residence form before voting.

What if I move to another county?

You must re-register in that county. Complete an application and mail it or take it in person to the voter registrar of your new county. You will be registered 30 days after your application is submitted. You will receive a new certificate.
You may be eligible to vote a limited ballot in your new county of residence after moving if:
      1. you were qualified to vote in your former county at the time you moved; and
      2. your registration in the new county is not yet effective.
If you vote a limited ballot, you may vote on all statewide offices and propositions and for all district offices which are common to your new and former counties of residence.
You must apply for a limited ballot and vote by personal appearance with the early voting clerk conducting the election in your new county during the early voting period. This period generally begins on the 17th day and ends on the 4th day before an election. You may also completed a limited ballot by mail if you are already eligible to vote by mail.

My name has changed. Can I still vote?

Yes. Promptly notify the Election Administrator in writing of the name change following the same steps for a change of address. You will receive a new, corrected certificate within 30 days.

What does the term "suspense" mean in a voter's record?

Pursuant to §13.146(b) of the Election Code, the term suspense is used to designate those voters for whom the Hays County Election Administrator does not have a current address. A voter with this designation will be removed from the suspense list and restored to active status once that person has advised the Hays County Election Administrator of his or her new address. This new address is important, not only so that our records will be accurate, but also so that the voter is voting in the elections where he or she resides.

What if I lose my voter registration card?

Notify the Election Administrator’s office in writing and you will be issued a replacement certificate. You may vote without your certificate by presenting acceptable proof of identity at the polling place and signing an affidavit.

Where do I vote?

Hays County is now a vote center county!  You may now vote at any open polling location in the county on both Election Day and during Early Voting. 

Check the Current Year Elections page and select the desired election for polling locations, days, and times.  Local newspapers also list polling locations. You can also call the Hays County Election Administration office at 512.393.7310.

What are the requirements to vote by mail?

You may apply for a ballot by mail if you:
     1. will be away from Hays County on Election Day AND during early voting;
     2. are disabled;
     3. are 65 years of age or older on election day; or
     4. are confined in jail.

Download an application for ballot by mail.  For more information, call the election administration office at 512.393.7310. 

For specific information about special voting procedures available to members of the military and U.S. citizens overseas, visit www.votetexas.gov/military-overseas-voters/.

What is early voting?

Early voting is really convenience voting, allowing a voter registered in any precinct within Hays County to vote at any early voting location.  For general information on early voting our voter registration and ballot by mail page. For the 2020 General Election, Early Voting is October 13-30.

If I am in college, should I register in my home town or in my college town?

Either is acceptable – whichever you consider your permanent residence.

If you are registered in your home town (and it is not in Hays County) and you will not be in that county on Election Day or during early voting, you may request an application for ballot by mail from that county’s elections administration office.

Check here to see where you are registered.

What if I need assistance at the polls? What if I want to request curbside voting?

All polling locations are handicapped accessible. The Verity Duo voting system is fully accessible and has an audio feature which allows any voter to listen to the ballot. You are also entitled to receive assistance if you cannot read or write, or have a physical disability that prevents you from reading or marking the ballot.

Tell the election official that you need help to vote. You do not have to provide proof of your disability.

You MAY be assisted by:

  • any person of your choice; or
  • one election worker during early voting; or
  • two election workers on election day.

You may NOT be assisted by:

  • your employer; or
  • an agent of your employer; or
  • an officer or agent of your union.

The person assisting you must read you the entire ballot, unless you ask to have only parts of the ballot read.  He or she must also take an oath that he or she will not try to influence your vote and will mark your ballot as you direct. 

If you choose to be assisted by polling place officials, a poll watcher and/or state election inspector present in the polling place may observe the voting process to be sure that the ballot has been marked as you wanted. If you ask to be assisted by a person of your choosing, no one else may watch you vote.

It is illegal for a person assisting you to:

  • mark your ballot in a way other than the way you have asked; or
  • tell anyone how you voted; or
  • try to influence your vote.

Interpreters at the Polls
If you cannot speak English, or if you communicate only with sign language, you may have an interpreter help you communicate with election officials. You may select any registered voter in your county to be your interpreter. If you cannot read the ballot, your interpreter may translate the ballot for you in the voting booth after taking the Oath of Assistance.

Curbside Voting

Curbside voting is available to all voters who are physically unable to enter the polling place.  To request curbside voting, call the Hays County Elections office at (512) 393-3910 when you arrive at the polling location parking lot.  We will ask which parking spot you are located in, for a description of your vehicle, and your callback number, and pass your information to an election officer at that polling location.  The election office will then bring a Verity Duo electronic voting device to you at the entrance of the polling place or to your vehicle.  After you vote on the Verity Duo machine, the election officer or your designated assistant will then cast your printed vote record in the Verity Scan machine in order to ensure that your vote will be counted.

You may conduct a curbside vote at any time during early voting or on Election Day.  It is always wise to call ahead, especially during busy days and hours.

What is a provisional ballot?
The Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 provides for provisional voting if a voter’s name does not appear on the list of registered voters due to an administrative error. If your name is not on the rolls of registered voters in your precinct, but you believe you are registered, the election judge at the polling location will attempt to determine if you are registered somewhere else in your county. If yes, you will be allowed to vote and your address will be updated.

If your registration cannot be found, you may cast a provisional vote by filling out an affidavit and a paper ballot. This ballot is kept separate from the regular ballots, and the case will be reviewed by the provisional voting ballot board. The ballot will be counted only if the voter is determined to be a registered voter in that precinct. Provisional voters will receive a notice in the mail by the tenth day after the local canvass advising them if their provisional ballots were counted and, if they were not counted, the reason why.

If you vote provisionally, you will need to visit the  Hays County Elections Administrator’s office for Hays County within six (6) calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID in order for your provisional ballot to be counted. The State of Texas provides certain other options for those who qualify if you are not able to present one of the seven acceptable forms of ID, including the execution of a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and presenting one of the acceptable forms of supporting ID.

Acceptable forms of photo ID

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS);
  • Texas election ID certificate;
  • Texas personal ID card;
  • Texas handgun license;
  • US military ID with photo;
  • US citizenship certificate with photograph (doesn’t need to be current); or
  • US passport.

Numbers to call for help

  • 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) English
  • 888-Ve-Y-Vota (839-8682) Spanish
  • 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Tagalog
  • 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) Arabic
  • 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683) American Sign Language (video call)
  • 888-796-VOTE Disability Rights Texas 
What are the acceptable forms of ID needed to vote?

All citizens wishing to vote must be on the official list of registered voters. Voters may use one of seven forms of photo identification. These IDs may be expired no more than 4 years; however, persons 70 years of age or older may use an expired ID. 

Acceptable forms of ID are (issuing agency in parentheses):

      • Texas Driver License (Department of Public Safety, DPS)
      • Texas Election Identification Certificate (DPS)
      • Texas Personal Identification Card (DPS)
      • Texas Handgun License (DPS)
      • U.S. military identification card with photo (Department of Defense)
      • U.S. citizenship certificate with photo (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
      • U.S. passport book or card (Department of State)

Registered voters without photo ID who cannot reasonably obtain one may sign a form and present the original or a copy of one of the following documents with the voter’s name and address:

      • Certified domestic birth certificate or court admissible birth document
      • Current utility bill
      • Bank statement
      • Government check
      • Paycheck
      • A government document with the voter’s name and address.  This includes a voter registration certificate, an out-of-state driver’s license, or an expired (beyond 4 years) Texas driver’s license.

The form is called a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.  The voter must indicate one of the following reasons for not providing a photo ID.*

      • Lack of transportation
      • Disability or illness
      • Lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photo ID.
      • Work schedule
      • Family responsibilities
      • Lost or stolen identification
      • Acceptable form of photo ID applied for but not received

*the ID address does not have to match the voter registration address.

Important: A student ID is not a form of valid voter ID.

Once you sign the form and show your ID you will be able to cast a normal ballot at your polling place.

The name on your photo ID and the list of registered voters must match. If your name is substantially similar (i.e. slightly different; a common variation of your formal name; contains an initial, middle name or former last name; or your first, middle, or last name is in a different field on the ID than it is on the list of registered voters) you may still be able to vote a normal ballot. However, you must also submit an affidavit stating that you are the same person on the list of registered voters.

If you do not have any of these forms of ID, you can get an Election Identification Certificate to present at the polling place. To find out more about these certificates, click here.

Do I need to wear a face covering when voting?

There is no authority under Texas law to require voters to wear face coverings when presenting to vote.  However, election officials should make efforts to communicate to voters that wearing face coverings is strongly encouraged, including through posted signs.  The Secretary of State is designing signs that can be used for this purpose.  Additionally, election officials may design their own signs for posting.  These signs must be approved by the Secretary of State prior to use (Section 62.013).  Election officials can also consider reasonable social distancing measures for voters who are not wearing face coverings in the polling place.

For more information about wearing face coverings at polling locations, please review the Secretary of State’s advisor here.

Hays County