Tuesday is the start of early voting in Texas for the Nov. 3 general election.
Texas Standard spoke with reporters from four corners of the state to see how it’s going so far.
KUT’s Claire McInerny told the Standard that voters lined up early this morning at two polling places in East Austin. Some told her they had come early out of an abundance of caution because of the pandemic and because of recent confusion over mail-in ballots.
“A lot of people were concerned about volume, seeing how may mail-in ballots were requested, and hearing that it could take weeks to go through it,” McInerny said.
Others were excited to vote and to participate in an election they feel is consequential. One voter told her, “It’s affecting my life in so many ways who’s in charge, so that’s why I’m out here to get it done.”
She said one location reported temporary issues with voting machines.
Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall spoke to the Standard from Houston’s NRG Arena. That’s Harris County’s only mail-in ballot drop-off location, and also a location for in-person and drive-through voting. Trovall said the in-person voting line was moving quickly this morning, taking voters about 10-12 minutes total. But NRG is a large facility that can accommodate more voters at once than other polling locations.
One voter, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Ecuador, told Trovall she completed her citizenship process recently to make sure could vote in this election.
“She was really proud to be voting for President Donald Trump,” Trovall said. “She thinks the whole [pandemic is overblown. … Another key issue for her is abortion.”
More than 100 people have come out to vote since 7am. We’ve asked them what brought them to the polls on the first day of early voting and how they’ve prepared to cast their ballot. Stay tuned for more on @keranews. @hadysauce pic.twitter.com/XuF06MlaO3
— Keren Carrión (@kerencarrion8) October 13, 2020
KERA’s Hady Mawajdeh reported from the American Airlines Center, and said there were about 40 people in line by 6:30 a.m. He spoke with 22-year-old Luther Harris, who was first in line. Harris told him he has voted in every election possible since he tuned 18.
“I don’t care if I get sick just because I went and voted. As long as I voted and my voice is heard, I’m happy,” Harris said.
Mawajdeh said poll operations are running smoothly there so far. He said voters told him they wanted to vote as early as possible in case there are issues similar to other polling sites around the country.
KTEP’s Angela Kocherga visited a polling place on the University of Texas at El Paso campus, where voters had lined up an hour before polls opened at 8 a.m. She said there was a mood of excitement, particularly because Jill Biden is speaking at a rally there later today.
Kocherga said the pandemic doesn’t seem to have deterred voters from showing up at the UTEP polling place, even as many of UTEP’s employees and students are still working from home.
“People have come to campus to cast their ballots, all wearing masks, socially distanced. … The enthusiasm is evident in people standing in like,” Kocherga said.
She also said voters don’t seem deterred by the end to straight-ticket voting this year – something election officials have tried to educate voters about, and which could mean voting will take longer than usual.
No issues were reported at polling places so far.