NewsLocal News


Early voting begins in Central Texas with new safety precautions

Posted at 8:35 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 21:35:42-04

Back in May when the state was seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, Governor Abbott signed an executive order allowing the primary run-off ​elections to be pushed back until July. Monday marked the first day of the early voting period.​

"This is our first election to go through with COVID-19. We've put the precautions in place and we hope the voters feel comfortable.​ We do ask the voters wear masks so they can feel safe as well,"​said Kathy Van Wolfe, McLennan County Elections Administrator.

The polls are strictly following CDC guidelines, including putting voting machines six feet apart, taping waiting spots on the floor, cleaning machines after each use​ and placing hand sanitizer beside the entrance and exit doors.​

"We hope to have no physical interaction between the voter and the poll worker. You'll sign in using a sterilized pen. You​ will be given your access code, and you'll take a pencil and use the eraser for the pencil to cast your votes on the electronic ​machines,"​ said Trudy Hancock, Brazos County Elections Administrator.

Despite the pandemic, mail-in ballots are only accepted under certain conditions. You must be 65 or older, disabled, or out of the county on election day or during early voting period.​ But remember you must fill out an application first.​

"Those applications have a deadline of July 2nd, which is Thursday. If you don't have an application, you can pick one up on our website," said Van Wolfe.​

"Just adhere to the social distancing and the hand sanitizer and know that we are doing everything possible to keep you safe,"​ said Hancock.

Both McLennan County and Brazos County have all five of their county's election locations still up and running. Those locations can be found on the specific​ county's election website.​

Be mindful that the extra cleaning and social distancing could also so cause longer wait times, so​ early voting is a great way to avoid the crowds.​