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Brazos County election officials adding more polling places, distance between booths after mail-in voting changes

Posted at 7:23 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 20:23:37-04

A ruling by the Texas Supreme Court Wednesday could force more people to vote in person in the upcoming elections.

The court ruled that lack of immunity to coronavirus does not qualify voters to vote by mail.

In Texas people who are out of the county during a voting period, 65 years or older, or people in jail or with an illness or disability are the only ones allowed to vote by mail.

The debate grows following the ruling from the state’s high court.

"In Texas we talk big about how individuals should be able to make their own decision about what is right for them, so then why should individuals not be allowed that same right to decide whether they should go in person to vote or should they vote by mail," said Angelita Garcia-Alonzo with the Democratic Party of Brazos County.

Meanwhile David Hilburn, the Chair of the Republican Party of Brazos County, says this is the best way to ensure the integrity of the election.

"We're all concerned of getting, we're concerned of getting other people sick. We just want to make sure that the people who are voting will get their vote counted," said Hilburn

As less people qualify to vote by mail, Brazos County elections administrator says they've ramped up safety efforts for those who cast their vote at the polls.

"We're minimizing any interaction, physical interaction, between the poll worker and the public. There will be social distancing, you know, we'll mark off the tape on the floor so they know where they should stand and wait," said Trudy Hancock, the Brazos County Elections Administrator.

Brazos County will also open up an extra polling location in order to spread out the amount of voters at current locations.

"I would feel that my polling places are going to be safer than going to the grocery store or to Walmart. We just hope to keep our voters safe, just know that we're doing everything that we can," said Hancock

Election officials say if you're concerned about exposure to the virus, you should try and vote early or on days where the polling places will be less crowded.

The primary run-off election is slated for July 14th, followed by the presidential election on November 3rd.