How to report election issues and rules to follow at the polls

It is Election Day and as people across the country head to the polls there are a few things you should know.

Voter's Guide: 2022 Midterm Elections in North Texas 

How to Report Election Issues

If you run into any issues at the polls you should talk to poll workers at your voting location.

You can also call the Secretary of State's office helpline at 1-800-252-VOTE to talk to state attorneys.

Rules to Follow at the Polls

When you go to your polling place, you will likely notice a cone or some other marker 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.

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Am I allowed to use my cell phone while voting?

Texas law says you are not allowed to use any wireless communication devices within 100 feet of voting stations. 

Don't take a selfie or record yourself in the booth either. You are not allowed to use mechanical or electronic devices to record sound or images within 100 feet of the voting station.

Banned devices:

  • 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 you are allowed to wear while voting?

Don't be surprised if you are asked to cover up your Beto or Abbott shirt as you head into 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. (Meaning MAGA gear is allowed this year)

If you are wearing gear supporting your candidate on the ballot this year, the presiding judge at your polling place has the ability to ask you to remove or cover up your apparel.

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What are poll watchers allowed to do?

Poll watchers are allowed into voting places to observe election activity and report any suspected issues.

Poll watchers can observe the conduct of an election on behalf on a candidate, political party or proponent or opponent of a measure, but cannot be a candidate, elected official, or family member of a candidate.

The poll watcher must have completed poll watcher training course and wear a name tag identifying themselves as a poll watcher while at the location.

They cannot talk to voters and may only talk to poll workers to report an irregularity.

What if my name is not on the list of registered voters?

If your name does not appear on the list of registered voters or if you do not have an acceptable form of ID, state law says you still have the right to cast a provisional ballot.

The provisional voting process involves an affidavit that the voter must complete stating the reasons he or she is qualified to vote; and is used if the voter’s registration cannot be verified by the polling place election officials OR if a voter (a) does not possess one of the acceptable forms of photo identification listed above, and a voter can reasonably obtain one of these forms of identification or (b) possesses, but did not bring to the polling place, one of the seven forms of acceptable photo identification listed above, or (c) does not possess one of the seven forms of acceptable photo identification, could otherwise not reasonably obtain one, but did not bring a supporting form of identification to the polling place.

The provisional voting process requires the voter to visit the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the above seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID OR if the voter does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain an acceptable form of photo identification, execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration and present one of the acceptable forms of supporting ID, OR, if applicable, submit one of the temporary affidavits (e.g., religious objection or natural disaster) OR, if applicable, qualify for a permanent disability exemption, in order for the provisional ballot to count.

The voter-marked provisional ballots are kept separately from the regular ballots, and the voter’s records will be reviewed by the provisional voting ballot board (the early voting ballot board), to determine if the ballot is to be counted or rejected. If applicable, the voter registrar will conduct whatever research is necessary to determine whether the voter is or should have been registered in the precinct in which the voter cast the provisional ballot and will pass this information on to the ballot board to assist it in making the decision of whether the provisional ballot must be counted. Provisional voters will receive a notice in the mail by the 10th day after the local canvass advising them if their provisional ballots were counted, and if they were not counted, the reason why.