The turnout for early voting in the Nov. 3 General Election is continuing full speed with 24 percent of registered voters turning out, so far, in Harrison County.
“The turnout so far is at 24 percent with a total check over four days last week and one day this week at 11,106,” Harrison County Elections Administrator Donald Robinette reported Monday as the second week of early voting kicked off.
In neighboring Marion County, Judge Leward LaFleur said 253 residents had voted on Monday.
“That brings a total of 1,645 since it started,” LaFleur said as he commended Marion County voters on a job well done.
As early voting continues, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is reminding voters and election officials that curbside voting, in particular, is an option only to those who meet a certain, narrow set of criteria.
“Curbside voting is not, as some have asserted contrary to Texas law, an option for any and all voters who simply wish to vote from the comfort of their cars when they are physically able to enter the polling place,” Paxton wrote in an elections guidance letter sent to all election officials throughout the state this past weekend.
Paxton felt compelled to send the reminder because he said some political subdivisions throughout the state have expanded their use of “curbside” voting this election cycle to offer expansive “drive-thru” voting to all registered voters.
The Attorney General reminded that the Texas Election Code provides that each polling place shall be located inside a building.
“The Code makes no provision for polling places located outdoors, in parking lots, or in parking structures,” he said. “More specifically, the Code makes no provision for ‘drive-thru’ voting centers at which any voter may cast a ballot from his or her vehicle regardless of physical condition.”
Paxton said the Election Code does, however, provide a limited allowance for curbside voting for those who face certain barriers to entering established polling places.
He noted that specifically, an election official may provide a ballot to a registered voter at the polling place entrance or curb only if the voter is physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health.
“But if a voter can enter the polling place on his or her own without a likelihood of injury, then it is unlawful for an election official to allow that voter to cast a ballot outside the polling place,” said Paxton.
“While election officials should not ordinarily question a voter’s good-faith representation that the voter is physically unable to enter a polling place, officials should not actively encourage voters to engage in unauthorized curbside voting when they fail to meet the requisite legal criteria. Fear of COVID-19 does not render a voter physically unable to cast a ballot inside a polling place without assistance,” he said. “Accordingly, election officials should not advise voters that such fear qualifies them to cast a curbside ballot.”
Paxton stressed that elections must be held in compliance with these Election Code provisions.
“Encouraging or facilitating election operations that violate these rules is unlawful and could result in legal liability for political subdivisions and their officials,” he said.
Paxton said his office is committed to enforcing the state’s laws to ensure safe, free, and fair elections.
EARLY VOTING FOR HARRISON COUNTY
Early voting continues in Harrison County today through Oct. 30, with a weekend option as well at the main elections office.
On the ballot are federal, state, city, county and school elections. The three cities and five schools that have contracted with the elections office to help conduct their elections are: the city of Marshall, the city of Waskom, the City of Longview, New Diana ISD, Hallsville ISD, Elysian Fields ISD, Waskom ISD and Karnack ISD.
The seven early voting polling places for Harrison County are: Waskom sub-courthouse, 165 W. Texas Ave.; Harleton Community Center, 4335 Community St.; Hallsville’s Gold Hall Community Center, 101 E. Elm St.; ESD No. 9 in Elysian Fields, 130 Farm-to-Market Road 451; Woodland Hills Baptist Church, 2105 E. Loop 281; Karnack’s T.J. Taylor Community Center, 15642 Farm-to-Market Road 134; and the Harrison County Main Elections Office at 415 E. Burleson St. in Marshall.
Early voting will take place at all of the early voting sites from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now to Oct. 22 and Oct. 26-Oct. 29. Extended early voting hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, which are both on a Friday. The weekend option at the elections office, only, will be Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
EARLY VOTING FOR MARION COUNTY
Early voting continues in Marion County from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21-Saturday, Oct. 24 and Monday, Oct. 26; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 through Friday, Oct. 30.
Early voting in person will is held at the Marion County Election Building, 504 N. Alley St., in Jefferson.