TO: Voter Registrars, County Clerks, and Elections Administrators
FROM: Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections
DATE: September 22, 2008
RE: Election Procedures and Information Following Hurricane Ike
The Secretary of State and her staff would like to extend their sympathy to all Texans affected by Hurricane Ike. As emergency relief efforts continue, we would also like to provide basic information with regards to the upcoming November 4, 2008 election. As we learn more about the situation in all affected areas, we will provide updated information. In the meantime, the following general information may be helpful to you.
We realize that evacuation is a difficult experience and that voters may not be certain of their future living arrangements, neither short nor long term. Voters who have been displaced have several options for voting in the November election.
- Voter Registration and Residence. Regarding residence, our advice to people displaced by the storm is the same as to any other person--the voter is the one who decides what the voter considers to be home. If a voter relocated to another county before the storm and has decided to stay in their new county, they may register to vote in their new county. Voters in this situation must submit a new voter registration application in their new county of residence no later than October 6, 2008 in order to vote in the November election. However, if a person has been relocated due to the storm and is unsure when they can return to their home county, but intends to return, then that person can maintain their voter registration in their home county (or apply to register if not already registered).
- If a voter is able to return to their home, they will likely vote as usual in their county. The counties hardest hit by the storm are still evaluating the state of their polling places, and there will likely be changes in voting locations, but it appears that all counties will be able to conduct voting during early voting and election day. Adversely impacted counties are still trying to restore power and assess damage, so it may be a few more weeks before final polling places will be ascertained.
- A voter away from their county of residence may apply for a ballot by mail from their home county. Voters wishing to vote by mail must submit an application for ballot by mail to their county election office; the application must be received no later than Tuesday, October 28, 2008. On the application, the voter must indicate that they will be out of their home county during early voting and on election day. Voters need to provide a mailing address for the ballot which is outside of their home county.
Our office will continue to work with local election officials to ensure that all Texas voters are able to participate in a fair, credible, and efficient election. Voters with specific questions may contact the Elections Division, toll-free at (800) 252-VOTE (8683) or visit our website for updated information.