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Can you vote by mail? Here is what you need to know about absentee voting

Posted at 4:34 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 22:22:24-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has many Americans worried about voting in person on or before Nov. 3.

Many are exploring absentee voting, but not everyone is allowed to vote by mail after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that fear of COVID-19, or lack of immunity to COVID-19, is not grounds to vote by mail.

Absentee voting currently is the only legal way to vote by mail in Texas.

In order to mail in a ballot you must fall under the following categories: You are 65 year or older; you are disabled; or you will be out of the county on Election Day or are confined in jail.

Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands said her office is taking precautions to keep people safe while voting in-person.

"We had an election during a spike in our numbers in COVID(-19) cases, and there was not one case that resulted from the elections,” she said.

Those who plan to absentee vote are advised to fill out their ballots early and send them as soon possible, to make sure their vote is counted, said county officials.

Nueces county resident Valarie Engelken plans to vote this year and told KRIS 6 News she does not trust mail-in voting and will be exercising her right to vote in person.

“I am going to make a personal trip to my voting booth, and I am going to vote as a person, not by mail," she said. "I don’t believe that the mail system is going to be correct, I think there is too many loopholes.”

Jessica Maloney, who also lives in Nueces county, said absentee voting works, but only if you do it ahead of time.

“I just think if you’re voting by mail, you should do it," she said. "But get on the ball and do it early, so your vote gets there and is counted -- counted before Election Day.”

Curbside voting will be available at every polling location during early voting and on Election Day.

Oct. 23 is the last day to request a ballot to vote by mail. Military and overseas residents already have been sent out, Sands said.

People such as Engelken may be worried about their mail-in vote being counted, but Sands said the ballots will stay local.

“It’s going to come here, it’s going to go to our mailbox Downtown, it’s not going to go to San Antonio," she said. "Your ballot is not going to leave the county."

Remember, there is still have time to register to vote. The deadline is Oct. 5.