BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Preparation for this year’s general election is well underway. But during this week's commissioners' court the topic of early voting locations and hours is sparking discussions of making changes.
During this week's commissioners court many people spoke up in hopes of adding locations and extending hours for early voting this year but with many moving parts the commissioners court was unable to come a decision. They have decided to table to the topic until July 5th.
The number of election workers needed to man polling locations may be growing.
“We need about 200 hundred people for election day working the polls to be sure we have adequate staff if we add those locations,” said Trudy Hancock, Election Administrator for Brazos County
Adding Zion church of Kurten to the list of early voting polling locations is the initial amendment proposed by Russ Ford, commissioner of Precinct Two. But there’s concern over staffing shortages.
”People that driving 20 miles is a little bit of a burden but staffing for those extra locations is monumental,” said Hancocok.
Along with Ford’s proposal, Commissioner Irma Cauley of Precinct 4 suggested to also extending hours in hopes of providing the working class more opportunities to vote.
”It’s not easy to vote in the middle of the business day and they don’t live or they're not working close enough to these polling locations that they can take time during their lunch hour, so I think it’s very important to make easy for people to vote,” said Ford.
Election administrator Trudy Hancock says to add four additional locations and extend hours would cost $12,000.
But one resident who resides in Precinct 2 believes other options should be considered.
”I know there’s issues with cost of having a polling place open and also finding poll workers. Well, my suggestion will be to completely close the arena hall and make the alternative somewhere out in Kurten either at the Zion church or the community center,” said Ronnie Vitulli, resident and former Mayor of Kurten.
County judge Duane Peters says he’s hesitant to consider changes this late into planning.
”To change it’s going to be in my opinion very difficult at the least and maybe even worst, I’ll still have the position that I've got and expressed,” said Duane Peters, County Judge.
Ford says this is a very important issue he would like to see addressed and believes can be before early voting begins.
Hancock also encourages anyone interested in volunteering their time to serve the community during elections to contact the election administration.