While the rush of voters slowed down during the second week of early voting, Tarrant County elections officials say they expect a high turnout during the final week.
Heider Garcia, elections administrator for Tarrant County, said he expected to have more than 500,000 ballots cast early by the end of this weekend.
"It’s looking good. I think it’s going to be a real high turnout," Garcia said, referring to the final week of early voting. “We have seen very sustained turnout through week one and almost all of week two. Usually, you would have seen a dip, which we’re seeing these days. Whether it’s going to spike the last two days like it traditionally has or it's just going to be sustained the entire period – impossible to predict.”
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On Friday, Garcia said the county experienced about 4,200 voters per hour. This time last week, that figure was about 5,000 voters per hour. Thursday was the slowest day the county has had so far during the early voting period, with an average of about 42,000 voters a day this week.
This week, county commissioners approved eight additional sites to accommodate voters on the last two days of early voting.
At the sub-courthouse in Mansfield, some voters waited just under an hour in line on Friday. Nate Wickham said he typically votes early every election.
“Normally it takes about 15 minutes. This time, I think we were in line for probably 45 minutes and probably 15 minutes to get through the process inside,” Wickham said. “I think it’s essential for people to get out and vote. Given the current political environment and the state of the country, if we don’t get out and vote then it’s not going to change. If we want change we got to be here, so I think it’s essential.”
Elections officials are also seeking more poll workers for the upcoming final week of early voting. Garcia said it’s helpful to have options, should the county need them. That turned out to be the case this week when a location in Hurst was shut down after a clerk tested positive for COVID-19.
The location was sanitized and reopened Friday with a new team replacing the workers who have been asked to quarantine.
“The larger pool of replacements, the quicker it is to turnaround situations like these,” Garcia said. “A lot of it also has got to do with not only a lot of people but having people from different areas in the county. Obviously, if you have an issue up in Southlake, but you have 1,000 people who signed up in southwest Fort Worth, they may not be interested in driving an hour up every morning and every day to work up there.”
Anyone interested in working at a polling site is asked to call (817) 831-8683 or send an email to email@example.com.
Voters are also encouraged to use the live voter map for wait times.