KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 30, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Early voting in the Texas Primary Runoff Election has begun, and local polling locations are taking extra safety precautions due to COVID-19. This vote was rescheduled from May, and the official election date is now July 14.
Around 35 congressional, legislature, and state board nominations for the upcoming November election are open and early voting runoffs have begun in Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller counties. These runoff elections will determine the candidates on the ballot in the November election.
Precautions in Place for Voters and Workers
Texas Governor Greg Abbott lengthened the days for the election in order to better spread out the polls. Voting locations are following state-issued recommendations to keep voters and administrators safe.
“It was a clean, quick, painless process,” says Fort Bend County resident, Crystal Stewart. “They open the door for you, check your ID without touching it, ask which party so they can give you the correct card. You then are given a sanitary Q-tip to use instead of a stylus for computer selection. You enter your card at your private booth, it spits out your card then they have you walk over to the ballot box and submit your card.”
Safety precautions are in place at local polling locations to keep them sanitary. One voter observed that masks are recommended, but not required.
“The whole process took me all of 10 minutes,” says Stewart. “It was the best voting process I've been to.”
Local County Early Voting Dates
(Click on your county for voting locations and information)
Fort Bend County - June 29 - July 10
Harris - June 29 - July 2
Waller - June 29 - July 10
Voting sites will be closed July 3 and July 4 to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Keeping Safe at Polling Places
With extra time to prepare, election administrators have been reviewing in-person voting to see how safe they can make it. (Picture courtesy of Wendy Duncan.)
The Texas Secretary of State, Ruth Hughs, has offered voters a list of suggestions for keeping safe, like screening themselves for symptoms and bringing their own hand sanitizer and pencil/marker to use on the ballot.
"Despite COVID-19, the drumbeat of our democracy has marched on," said Secretary Ruth Hughs. "I strongly encourage all eligible Texans to set aside time now so they can be prepared to cast a ballot during the early voting period or on Election Day. It is essential to our democracy that Texans are able to safely and confidently cast their vote."
Masks are highly recommended at the voting sites, however, they will need to briefly be lowered if identification can’t be made with it on. All poll workers will be wearing masks and forms of PPE.
Every Vote Counts
Anyone can vote in this runoff election, even if they didn’t vote in the Primary. Voters who did participate in the Primary must vote with the same party again during the runoff. In the November election, voters can vote for different candidates and a mix of political parties.
“Every vote counts. Do your research on your candidates so you back the best candidate for you," says Stewart. "This is a great freedom this country has that many don't, so let your voice be heard.”