Local election officials prepare for large voter tunrout

Elections officials finish final preparations

AUSTIN - As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off on Election Day, workers in Travis County spent Monday making sure everything will be in place when people get ready to cast their vote.

Staff assembled emergency voting supply kits, election judges picked up supplies and volunteers attended a final training session.

"Anything that we need to prepare for the workers in the field finishes up today in order to be ready for everybody bright and early at 7 a.m. on election morning," said Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.

Just down the highway in Williamson County, Monday was the calm before the storm.

"Our poll workers have picked up their kits, they did that yesterday," said Christopher Davis, Williamson County's Elections Administrator. "A lot of the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively, has been done. We actually sent out those machines and they've been delivered and they are actually at the locations now."

Both counties have more voters registered than ever before and saw record turnout for early voting with 53 percent of registered voters casting their ballots in Williamson County and about 50 percent in Travis.

Traditionally more Central Texans vote early than on election day but both counties are expecting large turnout Tuesday, Nov. 8.

"We projected close to 70 percent, over 70 percent, turnout and if that's the case we're looking at, you know 17 percent, 20 percent of that registered voter electorate coming out on one day," said Davis.

DeBeauvoir said of the registered voters who actually come to the polls, about 60 percent of them vote early.

"We have every indication that election day is going to be big and we're thrilled to see it," she added.

Both Davis and DeBeauvoir have taken steps to help people get through the process smoothly and quickly. Davis said the key to moving quickly is being properly educated.

"We're going to arm them with as much information as we can," said Davis. "So on our website, wilco.org/elections they'll be able to find what their sample ballot looks like, they can lessen the time they'll be there by downloading a sample ballot, they can even make their own selections ahead of time and by printing out that sample ballot they can take that with them and actually use it as a guide when they vote on the machines tomorrow. We also have map where they can find the closest locations, either on their desktop computer, they can even find it on their smartphone. As they're driving, they'll be able to see we'll post estimated wait times that are updated throughout the day showing green, yellow or red levels of wait time at all of our locations and they can make an educated decision."

DeBeauvoir is hoping to remove people who have special provisions from the main voting lines.

"We've taken some extra steps to try to make election day go a little quicker for all those folks who we know want to chose to vote on election day," said DeBeauvior. "We have triage tablets to make the lines go faster and we have resolution tables at each of our vote centers so that people who do have a need to update their address or they're needing to vote a different kind of ballot like a provisional will have a special table assigned so that they can quickly get that done and there won't be a need for people behind them in line to have to wait. All that's going to mean faster voting for anybody who's waiting in line."

The polls are open Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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