The general election is about three months away and with so many people wanting to vote for the next president, you probably want to vote by mail and make things easier, and safer, on yourself, right? Well, there are guidelines as to who can, and can't vote by mail. Check out the El Paso County Elections website for guidelines.

I spoke with Lisa Wise, the El Paso County Elections Administrator about voting by mail and absentee voting. Here are some of the questions she answered for me:

Can I vote by mail if I don't want to vote in person?
No. The Texas Election Code requires a reason for voting by mail. You must be 65 or over, out of the county during Early Voting and Election Day or be confined but eligible. The final qualification which is disability is at the voter’s discretion as to whether they believe they qualify under that point.

What is absentee voting and who is eligible for that?
Absentee voting is actually just another term for voting by mail because you’ll be absent from the County. We no longer refer to it as absentee voting but ballot by mail instead. Some states may only allow voters to vote by mail if they are absent and they still use that term.

When will the hotline for voters be open?
The hotline for voters to check if there ballot has been received will be open beginning September 28th and run through Election Day. That number (915-834-8222) will be different from our office number however a voter can still call our office and we will transfer them to the hotline.

When will the drop off for mail-in ballots be available at the Courthouse? Are there any other places where a mail-in ballot can be dropped off, i.e., at a polling place on election day?
Drop off will begin on September 28th. By law, a ballot may only be dropped at the Early Voting Clerk’s Office. The voter will still be required to produce a form of ID either from List A or B just as required at the polling site and sign the drop off roster. A voter may also only drop their OWN ballot at the location. For this election, that is the El Paso County Election Administrator who offices at the El Paso County Courthouse. However, we are working on setting up a drop spot on either the 1st floor of the courthouse or just outside the building in order to save voter’s time and avoid the health check in at the courthouse as this option should be available to voters who may be too ill to enter a polling site. Once we have that spot confirmed, we will be doing a press release as well as putting that in our ad campaign which will begin the first week of October.