The University of Houston’s College of Medicine and Hobby School of Public Affairs have partnered together to share information with Harris County voters about voting safely in the midst of a global pandemic. During this unprecedented global health crisis, it is vital voters are equipped with reliable health and voting information to feel confident participating in November’s election. Important Harris County specific resources about voting logistics and safety precautions have been compiled below. Share these safety tips so we can work together to have a safe and fair voting experience.
Early Voting in Non-Peak Hours
In order to reduce exposure during long lines at polling locations, voters should consider casting their ballot during the early voting period and in non-peak hours. Early voting takes place from Oct. 13- Oct. 30, and Harris County has over 100 early voting locations with flexible hours. Click on the link below to find the early voting polling location closest to you. As a reminder, Harris County voters can vote anywhere in Harris County and are not limited to polling locations in their precinct.
Voting by mail provides eligible voters with a secure option to vote from the safety of their own home. Harris County voters can either return their ballots through the mail via United States Postal Services or drop off their ballots in-person at the NRG Arena, Hall D, NRG Pkwy, Houston, TX 77054. A voter must provide an approved form of photo identification when dropping off a ballot.
A voted ballot postmarked by Election Day must be received by the early voting clerk no later than 5:00 pm on the next business day after Election Day. The Harris County Clerk’s office has also created a virtual tool to allow voters to check the status of their vote-by-mail application and mail ballot. For more information on Harris County’s procedures for voting by mail, visit the links below.
Harris County has established 10 drive-thru voting locations throughout the early voting period of Oct. 13 - Oct. 30. Drive-thru voting enables voters to cast their ballot from the safety of their vehicle. All drive-thru voting locations have the same hours as the traditional early voting and election day polling locations. Drive-thru voting is secure, and voters will use the same voting machines and follow the same procedures as walk-in voters. Click the links below to learn more about Harris County’s drive-thru voting program (select ‘drive-thru locations’ from the drop down button) and find the drive-thru polling locations closest to you.
Harris County’s Safety Protocols
It’s important for voters to be aware of the new safety precautions they will encounter at the polling locations. Harris County has implemented these procedures in order to protect election workers and voters from COVID-19 exposure. These precautions include equipping election workers with PPE, providing PPE to voters who request it, optimizing polling locations’ floor plans for increased social distancing and providing voters with finger coverings to limit touching of the voting machines. For more information about the safety initiatives Harris County has implemented, click the link below.
Sample Ballots and Non-Partisan Voter Guides
The minimum amount of time a voter can spend in a busy polling location will result in less exposure to COVID-19. Voters can help minimize their time at the polling location by reviewing their sample ballot in order to be prepared with their ballot decisions. For voters who would like information on certain candidates and races, the League of Women Voters of Houston has created a voter guide with information on federal, state, and local races. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization. Click on the link below to view the sample ballot and voter guide.
CDC COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines
The most important precaution voters can take in order to keep themselves and their community safe from COVID-19 exposure while voting is to follow CDC COVID-19 prevention guidelines. It’s important voters not only follow these guidelines on the day that they vote but also prior to voting. The CDC’s guidelines for limiting the spread of the coronavirus include social distancing, washing hands often and wearing a mask. To review the latest CDC COVID-19 prevention guidelines, visit the link below.
Houston METRO is providing free round-trip rides to registered voters on the following METRO services: local bus, METRORail, METRORapid and METROLift paratransit. These free rides are will be provided to voters on Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 26-29 and Nov. 3. For more information about this Houston METRO program, visit the link below.
To learn more about the Hobby School’s Vote Safe campaign efforts, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the College of Medicine’s Vote Safe campaign efforts, email email@example.com