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Important lessons learned in early voting will help speed Tuesday primary runoff

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 19:23:05-04

WACO, TX — Polls open at 7 AM on Tuesday morning for one of the most important runoff elections in years.

The runoff election comes as polls show politics getting tighter in Texas, and it's the first election since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Voters from the Brazos Valley to the heart of Texas have important choices to make in Tuesday's runoff election.

Plus, this is the first election under new COVID guidelines that make voting “touch-less.“

Tuesday's vote comes as the latest polls show Texas drifting from a solid red state into blue territory for the first time in years.

"I think it's important that everybody should vote, it gives everybody the opportunity to choose what they want," said Waco voter Ariana Zanek.

In McLennan, Bell and Brazos, you'll find judge, county, state and congressional races.

Democrats will have their choice of Royce West or Mary Hogar for U.S. Senate, and between David Jaramillo and Rick Kennedy for U.S. House of Representatives District 17.

Many Texas counties will also vote for a candidate running for Railroad Commission.

Brazos Republicans will choose from Michael Schaefer and Steve Aldrich for County Commission.

Some Bell County Democrats will choose between between Christine Mann and Donna Imam for U.S. House District 31.

Republicans will select a candidate for judge of the 426th District Court.

McLennan Republicans will also choose a candidate for judge of the 19th District Court and a Precinct 1 County Commission spot.

But at the top of most ballots, sits a hotly-contested congressional runoff between comeback candidate Pete Sessions and newcomer Renee Swann.

"I'm ready, I'm ready for tomorrow," said Swann on primary night.

"We have to go build a case before the electorate," explained Sessions.

Election workers will go to great lengths to keep voters safe this year.

"We did curbside voting for those who didn't feel like they were comfortable coming in, and we'll have that again on election day," said McLennan County Election Administrator Kathy VanWolfe, who also will feature so-called "touch-less voting."

Here's s how touch-less voting works:

First, election workers give you a pen and a pencil to keep.

Use the pen to sign in for your ballot, and the pencil to work the voting machine.

Use the eraser end to work the wheel, log in and confirm your choices.

Election workers learned an old scuba diving trick during early voting.

"We learned a new trick that if you put shaving cream on the inside of your visor and wipe it off it won't fog up, so we've learned from this election so that will help us in November," Van Wolfe said.

Voters say this is an election nobody wants to miss.

"Did I ever miss an election? I have before, yes. But not this one, because it's just important to vote, too much at stake," said Zanek.

Experts also say this election is the best way to find out how the voting process will go before the even more hotly contested November presidential election.