State law requires you to register 30 days prior to the election in which you wish to vote. Due to the Help America Vote Act which was enacted in September 2003, applicants must now provide a form of identification when registering by mail. An applicant’s spouse, parent, or child (acting as an agent) may complete and sign a Voter Registration Application, provided that the agent is a registered voter, or has applied for voter registration.
You may register to vote if you fulfill all of the following requirements:
- Are a resident of Harris County.
- Are at least 17 years, 10 months of age (To vote, you must be 18).
- Are a U.S. citizen.
- Have not been declared totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction.
- Are not finally convicted of a felony—or have satisfied the court’s requirements after a felony conviction or have received a pardon.
Voter Registration Duties
In Texas, the County Tax Assessor-Collector is the Voter Registrar for the county unless the position of county elections administrator is created or the County Clerk is designated as the Voter Registrar. Mike Sullivan serves as the Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar in Harris County. The Voter Registrar may not charge a fee for performing voter registration functions unless expressly authorized by law. The Voter Registrar shall conduct voter registration activities at all times during regular office hours. The Voter Registrar may establish one or more branch offices in the county to conduct voter registration activities for the convenience of persons desiring to register; a branch office may be temporary or permanent.
The Voter Registrar maintains files containing the approved registration applications of the registered voters of the county. These files are kept in the Voter Registrar’s office at all times in a place and manner ensuring their security.
Before all county elections, the Voter Registrar must prepare for each county election precinct a certified list of the registered voters in the precinct. The list must contain the name of each voter whose registration is effective on the date of the first election held in the county in that voting year.
The office of the Voter Registrar is funded by the Secretary of State. Each year, the Voter Registrar must prepare and submit to the Comptroller of Public Accounts and to the Secretary of State the number of initial registrations and the number of registrations cancelled for the previous voting year. This list is to include voters who are deceased, felons, and those who have moved out of the county. The Voter Registrar is to also provide the total number of registrations for information updates.
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To vote in a Harris County election, you must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the election date. To change your name or address, a completed and signed application is also required.
Eligibility for Registration
To be eligible for registration as a voter in this state, a person must:
- be 18 years of age* or older;
- be a United States citizen;
- not have been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be: totally mentally incapacitated; or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote;
- not have been finally convicted † of a felony or, if so convicted, must have:
- fully discharged the person’s sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court; or
- been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disability to vote; and be a resident of the county in which application for registration is made.
* To be eligible to apply for registration, a person must, on the date the registration application is submitted to the registrar, be at least 17 years and 10 months of age and satisfy the above requirements except for age.
† A person is not considered to have been finally convicted of an offense for which the criminal proceedings are deferred without an adjudication of guilt.
Confirm your Voter Registration Status
You may easily confirm your voter registration status by searching for it on our website or the Texas Secretary of State’s website. If you are currently living in Harris County but are registered to vote in another county, you must be registered to vote in Harris County at least 30 days prior to Election Day in order to vote in Harris County.
Where to Register to Vote
Registering to vote is fast and easy! Simply complete a Voter Registration Application and mail the signed application (at least 30 days before the election date) to:
P.O. Box 3527
Houston, Texas 77253-3527
Obtain a Voter Registration Application by these convenient ways:
- Visit any Harris County Tax Office location and submit your completed, signed form from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our location can be found here.
- Request, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our office will mail a paper application to you. Please provide a mailing address and phone number in your email. (Harris County Tax Office)
- Call 713-274-VOTE (8683) to be assisted in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, or Chinese.
- You can pick-up an application at your local U.S. Postal office, library, high school, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) site, Texas Health and Human Services Commission and other government offices.
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Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:
- 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 concealed 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
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
Procedures for Voting
When a voter arrives at a polling location, the voter will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID. Election officials will now be required by State law to determine whether the voter’s name on the identification provided matches the name on the official list of registered voters (“OLRV”). After a voter presents their ID, the election worker will compare it to the OLRV. If the name on the ID matches the name on the list of registered voters, the voter will follow the regular procedures for voting.
If the name does not match exactly but is “substantially similar” to the name on the OLRV, the voter will be permitted to vote as long as the voter signs an affidavit stating that the voter is the same person on the list of registered voters.
If a voter does not have proper identification, the voter will still be permitted to vote provisionally. The voter will have (six) 6 days to present proper identification to the county voter registrar, or the voter’s ballot will be rejected.
Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption. The application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing he or she has been determined to have a disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. In addition, the applicant must state that he or she has no valid form of photo identification. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption. Please contact your voter registrar for more details.
Voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed and voters who do not have any valid form of photo identification as a result of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor, may vote a provisional ballot, appear at the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days after election day, and sign an affidavit swearing to the religious objection or natural disaster, in order for your ballot to be counted. Please contact your county voter registrar for more details.