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Early voting throughout the state of Texas begins Monday, October 20, through Friday, October 31. Hays County registered voters have the opportunity to beat the expected long lines on Election Day, November 4. Hays County is scheduled to have various polling places open throughout the early voting period.
“Any voter that is registered in Hays County can vote at any early voting site we have [within the County],” said Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan. “You don’t have to vote within your jurisdiction.”
Cowan said in the 2004 Presidential Election, over 50 percent of Hays County registered voters participated in early voting. She said she is expecting the same result if not higher. “I’m estimating that 50 percent of our turnout will be in early voting,” said Cowan.
In a press release Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade urged voters to take advantage of the convenience afforded to them by voting early. “We anticipate a large voter turnout for the general election,” said Andrade. “By voting early you can avoid the long lines we expect to see on Election Day. My office has worked with county officials across the state and they are definitely prepared for such an important election.”
Hays County has put forth great effort for the upcoming historic general election. Cowan said that compared to past years, 134 extra hours have been provided for early voting. She said this was done in order to decrease wait times in lines. Cowan predicts 70 percent of voters in Hays County will participate in this year’s election.
Cowan said her office has finished updating all the new voters, and the new report states Hays County has approximately 98,000 voters, 16,000 of which are considered “suspense voters.” According to the Hays County Elections website suspense voters have had their Voter Certificate or other mail returned to a county office, which indicates a person may no longer reside at their registered address. State Law declares a suspense voter as eligible to vote if they fill out a Statement of Residency declaring that they still reside in Hays County.
Cowan urged voters to take their voter registration card to the polling place, as it facilitates the voter’s identification and moves the line faster. “If you don’t have your voter registration card, bring proper id,” said Cowan. She said a driver’s license will suffice in the case of a lost voter certificate.
“It’s important to go out and cast your vote for candidates of your choice, and your opinions on propositions that are being brought forward,” said Cowan.
Andrade said voting in Texas will be lawful and uncorrupted. “It is our goal to ensure that every election in Texas is fair and credible and we believe that on November 5th, we will proudly look back on Election Day as a positive experience,” said Andrade.
by Andy Sevilla
News Section Editor
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