HOUSTON -

Early voting started Monday in the state of Texas.

In addition to the presidential race, Texans will be choosing a U.S. senator in a seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, as well as dozens of other races.

Hundreds lined up to fulfill their civic duty. Some waited in line for an hour before they could cast their vote.

"We haven't always had the opportunities that we have now and I think that it's a sad reality that a lot of people are not taking advantage of the opportunities that we have today," Pastor William C. Chillis said.

"It was mayhem. You couldn't find a parking place. I thought we should have just parked across the street to begin with," another voter said.

"We knew to park across the street because we knew it would be really packed over here," voter Gail Marcelous said. "I definitely wanted to come out early to avoid all the lines on Election Day."

"I was just excited about voting and just wanted to come here today and get it over with. I knew the lines would be this long," voter Laurie Sowell said.

Voters have two early voting options -- show up in person at an early voting polling location or vote by mail. To vote by mail, voters have to meet one of the following criteria: be away from the country on Election Day and early voting times, sick or disabled, 65 years old on Election Day, or confined to jail.

In Harris County, there are 37 early voting locations. The early voting locations will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., on Saturday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., and next Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more on early voting in Harris County, visit www.harrisvotes.com/EarlyVoting/EVL.aspx?L=E.