We are in uncharted territory as we head to the polls to cast ballots in the Democratic Primary Runoff. This election was originally scheduled for May 26th but was postponed to July 14th by Governor Abbott due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the number of COVID-19 cases in our area is rising and we’re seeing a record number of cases across the state. Although we are heading to the polls during a pandemic, the Williamson County Democratic Party has been working closely with the Williamson County Elections staff to ensure the safety of our voters and poll workers.
Here are are some of the safety measures being taken during the Democratic Primary Runoff:
- Protective shields will be provided at each check-in station.
- Each check-in station and ballot marking device will have a pen holder and sanitizer to be used for cleaning pens and styluses.
- Voting touchscreens will be regularly cleaned with alcohol.
- Each location will have a poll worker assigned to monitor and encourage social distancing.
- Each location will have social distance markers on the floor.
- Signs will be posted outside each polling location to alert voters to the option of curbside voting.
- Poll workers will thoroughly sanitize each polling location’s equipment before, during and after voting occurs each day.
- Protective equipment including masks, shields, and gloves will be worn by all election workers.
- Voters are strongly encouraged to also wear a mask.
- Hand sanitizer is being supplied for liberal use by poll workers as well as voters.
- Before voting starts, all poll workers will receive training in safety and sanitizing protocol.
- Consolidation of polling locations – 8 for Early Voting and 13 for Election Day.
- Extended Early Voting, June 29-July 2 and July 5-July 10.
Click here to watch a short video that the Williamson County made to show the steps being taken to ensure voter safety in the polling place.
Secretary of State Ruth Hughs has also issued a statement encouraging voters to observe established health protocols and take advantage of extended early voting. Click here to view her entire statement.
If you are planning to request a ballot by mail, the deadline for the application to be received at the Elections Department is Thursday, July 2nd. Please note the application must be received, not postmarked, by July 2nd. Applications are not accepted in person once Early Voting begins.
To request an application to vote by mail, contact Lorraine McKay, WilCo Elections Department at 512-943-1633.
Reasons to Vote by Mail:
65 years of age or older – If you are 65 years of age or older – make sure to mark the boxes: “65 years of age or older,” “Annual Application,” and “Democratic Primary.”
Disability – If you want to vote by mail due to Disability, choose “Disability,” “Annual Application,” and “Democratic Primary.”
As a reminder, by law, Chris Davis, WilCo Elections Administrator said, “local election officials don’t have the authority to question the applicant on any of the excuses they use for ballot by mail. We have no authority to ask [a voter] to define what their disability is. We take the application at face value – as we always have.”
Expected absence from the county – You can also vote by mail with the option of Expected Absence from the County but you must be absent during the entire early voting period, Election Day, AND provide an out-of-county address where your ballot can be mailed, AND include dates you can receive mail at the out-of-county address.
Confined in jail – You may vote while in jail but must otherwise be eligible to vote.
This is a Democratic Primary Runoff Election and there will only be 3 races on the ballot – US Senate, RailRoad Commissioner and Congressional District 31. We will use this election as a test run for what we will face this November.
As always, we encourage all eligible Democratic voters to make their voices heard by casting a ballot. When doing so during this election, please observe all safety protocols when visiting your nearest polling location.
Stay safe and vote!
Kim Gilby, Chair-WCDP
Jose Orta, Elections Administrator-WCDP