Taylor County takes extra precautions as early voting begins

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TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – Early voting for the July 14th Joint Primary Runoff Election begins on Monday, June 29th and continues through Friday, July 10th with the exception of July 3rd and 4th which are observed as federal holidays.

Early voting will be conducted at the Taylor County Plaza building located at 400 Oak Street.

In the wake of COVID-19, many voters are concerned about the health risk of voting in person at a polling place. Taylor County will be taking multiple precautions at the polling place. The voting process will look different from what voters have traditionally experienced in past elections.

  • Poll workers will wear a facemask and/or face shield.
  • There will be consistent cleaning and disinfecting of items voters may come in contact with such as check-in tables, pens, voting system equipment, chairs, doorknobs, door facings, etc.
  • Workers will maintain 6 feet between others in the polling place.
  • Polling place will be arranged to allow voters to maintain at least 6 feet distance between others.
  • Hand sanitizer will be readily available for workers and voters.
  • Voters are encouraged to wear a facemask while in the polling place.
  • Voters may bring their own pen to sign their name or complete any required documents.
  • Voters will be offered a glove prior to signing their name and then use the same-gloved hand to mark their ballot at the voting device.
  • Voters should self-screen before arriving at the polling place.
  • Voters who exhibit any CDC symptoms associated with COVID-19 should consider utilizing curbside voting at the polling place.

We also want to encourage anyone who is eligible to vote by mail to do so by contacting our office to request an absentee ballot. There has been litigation in federal and state court involving eligibility to vote by mail in Texas elections. Pursuant to the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling, a lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, does not qualify as a “disability” under Section 82.002 of the Texas Election Code.

In Texas, a registered voter must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible to vote a ballot by mail:

  • You are 65 years of age or older;
  • You are disabled;
  • You will be absent from the county on Election Day and during the period for voting early by personal appearance;
  • You are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

The Election Code defines “disability” to include “a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.”

Each voter should assess their own circumstances and make their own determination which qualifying criteria they meet.

Taylor County also offers the option for voters to vote a curbside ballot. If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place, he or she can request to vote his or her ballot from their vehicle. When the voter arrives at the polling place, they will call the elections office to let them know they wish to vote curbside and the ballot will be brought to the voter.

While voting in the midst of a pandemic presents its own set of challenges, our office is committed and prepared to providing a clean and safe environment for our workers and voters alike.

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