What to Expect at In-Person Early Voting

Elections administrators walked NBC 5 through how they are preparing for health and safety concerns

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It is a presidential election year, so as Texans begin to vote, officials expect big numbers.

“This is the highest turnout you get in a four year cycle, so it is expected you are going to have a very high turnout. This one will probably be even more so,” Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said.

But in a year that has been anything but normal, voting will be a different experience. Local elections administrators are taking extra precautions during a pandemic. They include social distancing and more.

“We recommend you wear a mask.  We cannot force it on voters, but we would highly recommend it, and if you don't have one we will have masks to provide. Poll workers are going to be wearing masks, gloves. Face shields are also available for them, plenty of hand sanitizer,” said Heider Garcia, elections administrator for Tarrant County.

There are also questions about election security this time around, so we asked local elections administrators how they handle mail-in ballots once they come in.

Tarrant County elections administrator Heider Garcia gave us insight on how they are stored once they arrive.

“The group that verifies the signature for the ballots will start to convene on Oct. 14. So between now and then, they are locked up in a room that only five people can open. They need to have their badge and a fingerprint,” added Garcia.

Sherbet walked us through the verification process.

“You have a ballot board that reviews the applications for ballots, and also the return ballot envelopes containing the voted ballot. There is a process of checks and balances on our database so that voters, aren’t, you know, in a situation where they vote twice for example,” said Sherbet.

You can vote anywhere in your county for both early voting and election day.

“We are not expecting long lines except for if you wait till the last day of early voting. That always historically is the heaviest turnout day, so we encourage you to take a middle of the week day if you can, middle-morning, middle-afternoon.  Those are non-peak times. On election day if you are waiting until election day to vote, just if you can, don’t wait until 5 p.m and after because those are the heaviest turnout periods of time for voters. What you can do, though, is look on the county elections websites and all these counties have these maps posted that will give you indications of how long we think the wait time is,” said Sherbet.

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