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Election Q&A: What’s the difference between an absentee ballot and a mail-in ballot?

In Texas: you must meet certain requirements to get a mail-in ballot.

SAN ANTONIO — KENS 5 is answering your election questions. Our Voter Team was asked, "What’s the difference between an absentee ballot and a mail-in ballot?"

An absentee ballot means you’re a voter who cannot be physically present to go to a polling place. Also, an absentee ballot has to be requested.

Mail-in ballots typically refer to states where the ballots are sent to all registered voters whether they requested one or not.

In Texas: you must meet certain requirements to get a mail-in ballot. You must be 65 years or older, sick or disabled, away from the of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period, or be confined in jail, but eligible to vote.

Earlier this summer, the Bexar County Elections Department warned that it is important to request a mail-in ballot as early as possible to avoid a backlog and reduce the risk of possibly not receiving a ballot in time. Election officials highly recommends voters submit their applications for a mail-in or absentee ballot now. 

The deadline to submit an application is October 23. Remember, your application must be received by that date, not postmarked by it. You can print an application or submit an order online here.

Be sure to head to KENS 5's Voter Guide for more information.

Who can request a mail-in ballot in Texas?