October 18, 2010

Early Voting In Harris County, Texas

At 7:00 AM, polls open for early voting in the state of Texas. Here in Harris County, it is crucial that as many voters as possible turn out during the early voting period.

This year's appeals to coax voters to the polls in October carry an unusual urgency after a fire destroyed nearly all the county's election machines seven weeks ago. The first public statement County Clerk Beverly Kaufman made in response to the fire even before it was put out - was a plea to vote early.

No one knew at the time of the Aug. 27 blaze how many replacement machines the county would be able to rustle up on such short notice. As it turns out, the county will deploy nearly as many eSlates as it had planned before the fire. Kaufman, nevertheless, continues to urge the county's 1,934,895 registered voters not to wait until Nov. 2 this year.

With machines borrowed from 16 counties supplementing newly purchased eSlates that have never been used, "There just might be something unforeseen that we don't expect," Kaufman said. "You never know."

The long ballot also could cause Election Day delays if too many people procrastinate. There are 175 races and propositions on ballots across the county. How many of them appear on your ballot depends on where you live.

An increase in requests for mail-in ballots suggests that voters are heeding Kaufman's call. As of Friday morning, 62,000 voters had submitted applications to vote by mail, which exceeds the number requested for the 2008 presidential election at the same point in the election cycle.

Both Kaufman and party leaders are forecasting a turnout of about 750,000 voters this year.

Harris County is expected to have a high turnout this year due to the presence of Houston's former mayor, Bill White, on the ballot as the Democrat candidate for governor. The voting machine issue, while probably not nearly the crisis that was originally predicted by many of us, is still serious -- I've been told, for example, that my precinct will not have as many voting machines as we would have had if the fire had not occurred, and even the option of paper ballots for voters is no guarantee of a speedier election day experience. I'm therefore asking all those who are planing to vote here in Harris County to get out during the early voting period.

For your convenience, here is a link to a PDF file noting the locations and hours of all early voting locations in Harris County. You can vote at any of these locations, regardless of where you live in the county, so there is no excuse for not voting early!

|| Greg, 05:29 AM || Permalink || Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Comments on Early Voting In Harris County, Texas

Though I am not from Texas, I am aware of the push for early voting. I will most likely still vote on Election Day. A friend who usually goes with me to vote fears that early votes may "get lost". What are the odds of that occurring? Although I live in Illinois - at least I don't live in the Chicago area!!!
I understand that you will be an Election Judge again this year. That can be a long day.

|| Posted by reb517, October 18, 2010 03:16 PM ||

Can you early vote in a different county than you live in?

|| Posted by DSmith, October 23, 2010 06:10 AM ||

No -- you must early vote in the county where you are registered. However, you can vote at any early voting site in that county. In my case, I voted at the location near where I work -- it has shorter lines and is much more convenient than the several locations which are closer to my home.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, October 24, 2010 11:26 AM ||
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