Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade and Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvior held a joint meeting Nov. 1 to emphasize the importance of casting ballots early and to remind voters that for the first time in a presidential election, they may vote at any location in the county.
“You can vote wherever you want on Election Day. Any place where you see a 'Vote here' sign is an opportunity,” DeBeauvior said. “The rule has been in the past was that you could only vote in your neighborhood. What we've done is try to turn Election Day into early voting. [During] early voting, you can go anywhere to vote. That's what Election Day is going to look like now.”
Andrade said she is dedicated to making it possible for voters to get to the polls.
“When I see that it's convenient for the voter, that's what I want. I want to make it as convenient, as easy, as accessible … so that you don't have an excuse [to not vote],” Andrade said. “I think all of us are wanting our employees, our family, our friends—everyone—to go out and vote. Ask each other, 'Did you vote?'”
Andrade said she has tried to encourage voters throughout the state to “make your mark on Texas—go out and vote.”
“As I've been traveling the state I've been saying, 'Let's ask each other—did you vote? Are you going to vote? And if you're not, why not?'” she said.
DeBeauvior said the work to get vote centers set up in Travis County has taken a little more than four years. Each vote center has been issued a laptop that maintains a connection to the master voter registration roll; the same system is in place for early voting.
“We've very carefully built an infrastructure that protects the voter from accidentally casting a ballot twice,” she said. “Once you go in and vote, then your name is marked off the voter registration list. Every single polling place maintains a direct link to the voter registration [database]. The minute you voted, you're scratched off the roll in all the polling places.”
Redistricting in the state was one of the main reasons for the creation of the vote centers, DeBeauvior said.
“The main thing about it is, redistricting hit Texas late, and it hit us hard, especially Travis County. I didn't want voters to suffer from that confusion,” she said. “On Election Day, voters will get to go wherever they want to go vote. You can't be in the wrong place.”
Complete voting information is available at www.votetexas.org or at 238-VOTE. Early voting ends Nov. 2. Polls are open from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6.