Steps to prepare for the November election

The most important election of our lifetime takes place Tuesday, Nov. 3—less than 50 days from today. The first day of early in-person voting is on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Here are several steps to think about:

Step 1: Make sure you are registered. For those of us who never miss an election that seems like a foregone conclusion, but to be certain, go to this website: https://register2vote.org. If you are registered, it will tell you so; if you are not, it will walk you through obtaining a registration form to make sure you are registered by the deadline of Monday, Oct. 5.

Step 2: Prepare to vote in every election up and down the ballot. The Legislature ended straight-ticket voting, starting with the Nov. 3 election, so it will no longer be possible to cast your ballot for all candidates of your political party with one check mark. You will need to vote separately in federal races, statewide races, legislative races and local races. Politics affects almost every part of an educator’s life at work, so prepare your decision in every contest. Check out the Texas AFT endorsements for statewide, congressional and legislative races here. 

Step 3: If you are eligible to vote by mail and decide to take that route, request your ballot from your county election official now, if you have not done so already. Deadline for requesting a ballot is Friday, Oct. 23. You can check eligibility requirements here. Mail your ballot back as soon as possible. The sooner you send your ballot in, the safer it will be ahead of a deadline for receipt of 5 p.m. Nov. 4 (the postmark deadline is 7 p.m. Nov. 3). If you cannot or choose not to vote by mail, go to Step 4.

Step 4: Vote in person at early polling places, from Tuesday, Oct. 13 until Friday, Oct. 30. Turnout in the 2020 election is expected to be extraordinarily high, so the earlier you vote, the less likely you will have to wait hours in line—something that seems to happen in every major election in large cities. For in-person voting, you will need a Voter ID, such as a driver’s license. Don’t have a driver’s license? Check out the other forms of ID you can use to vote with in Texas. Once again, the sooner, the better, but if you choose not to vote early, go to Step 5.

Step 5: Vote on Election Day, when the hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line by 7 p.m., you will be permitted to cast a ballot, no matter how long it takes to get to your turn.

Step 6: Celebrate a pro-public education majority in the Texas House!