If you are among those headed to the polls on Election Day, recent history indicates you are among the minority.
An estimated 70 percent of votes cast in the past two General Elections happened before Election Day, according to Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet. Those votes include mail-in ballots and votes cast during the Early Voting period that ended this year on Friday, Nov. 4.
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“We had a very smooth Early Voting process – 300,000 voters voted in this county,” Sherbet said. “So far so good.”
Lines Early, Late
The Early Voting turnout could help explain why Sherbet predicts long lines will not be a widespread concern for voters in his or any Texas county Tuesday.
In Denton County, there are 20 additional polling places that have been created for the 2016 General Election, according to Elections Administrator Lannie Noble, bringing the county’s total to 112.
“We’ve done this to help prevent the long lines we have seen before,” Noble said.
If lines are to form, they are most likely to be seen very early in the day Tuesday, or late in the evening, according to Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole.
Know Where to Vote
A frequent problem that voters encounter on Election Day is that they go to vote in the polling place they are familiar with from previous elections only to find it has been moved, according to Frank Phillips, Tarrant County Elections Administrator.
The 20 additional polling places in Denton County for 2016 are an example of how times and circumstances can change.
We have created a page that is dedicated to helping you find your polling place.
No ID? No Problem
This summer the federal court system overturned the Texas Voter ID law, passed in 2011 in an effort to prevent what current Governor Greg Abbott called “rampant” voter fraud.
The law would have required a voter to present any one of seven valid forms of photo identification in order to vote in the General Election.
But an appeals court ruled that law discriminated unfairly against minorities who were less likely to have the proper forms of identification.
As a result, for this election voters who have a valid form of photo ID must show it. But according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office those who do not have proper photo identification can still vote if they do the following:
1. Sign a sworn statement that there is a reason why you don’t have photo ID.
2. Present at least one of the following:
a. Valid voter registration certificate
b. Certified birth certificate
c. Current utility bill
d. Government check
e. Paystub or bank statement that includes your name and address
f. Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph).
Don’t Know? Ask
When asked what was new for the 2016 General Election, Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet offered a one-word answer: people.
“There are 80,000 more registered voters living in Collin County than there were in 2012. There are more than 100,000 more registered voters in Collin County now than there were in 2008,” Sherbet said. “Many of those people are new to Texas.”
Sherbet emphasized that new voters might be unfamiliar with the voting process, but be hesitant to ask a poll worker how the machines operate.
“We don’t want any voter to go into a polling place, vote their ballot and then think that there was some problem with the process,” Sherbet said. “We want it addressed right there.”
During the Early Voting period, complaints from voters that gained traction on social media centered on people who attempted to vote a straight Republican ticket, but also specifically selected Donald Trump for the office of President. When that happened, the voters claimed that the machine changed their vote for Trump to a vote for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“That is voter error,” Sherbet indicated. Instead of ensuring the vote for their presidential candidate of choice, what a voter has done in that instance is de-select Trump in favor of another candidate, Sherbet said.
Governor Greg Abbott indicated as much in a tweet from Oct. 29.