TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Early voting kicks off in three weeks, and Tuesday Travis County Commissioners approved new polling locations for three reasons — the pandemic, high voter turnout and grocery stores are not participating this year.
“We can’t use the grocery stores right now, so while we have a history of finding retail places to go this makes a whole new benchmark for us, for us finding creative locations,” Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said.
This November election, voters can expect places such as hotels, churches, music venues, wedding halls and fast-food restaurants to serve as polling sites.
DeBeauvoir said because of COVID-19, and the demand they anticipate this November, they’re trying to get as many polling locations as possible. At present, there are just under 40 early voting sites, and nearly 200 polling locations for Election Day.
“There are some very creative places to vote this time. Some of them are volunteers in the community, the P. Terry’s in Westlake has given us their dining room, only the Westlake location. We are thrilled about that it was his idea,” DeBeauvoir said. ‘There’s Emo’s, Modo Yoga, Sky Candy and Mercury Hall.”
“Things are different, so we are just excited to be able to be a hosting location for the polling,” Courtney Landers, director of events at Mercury Hall said. “Just trying to give back to the community during this time.”
DeBeauvoir said they are also discussing COVID-19 safety guidelines with those at the new polling locations.
“We go over that with the owners or managers of the property and it’s very detailed because we want to make sure voters get the full benefit and election workers of all the protective equipment and make sure that everybody, all the voters take care of themselves and it works and runs smoothly,” she said.
While the county clerk feels confident in the numbers of polling locations, she is still in need of help.
“Early voting is 18 days, it’s a lot of days to cover,” DeBeauvoir said. “We’re also trying to ask some new people to come and help us with this historic election on Election Day.”
DeBeauvoir said workers will help with everything from polling location registration to taking in delivered mail-ballots. If people would like to work the polls they must go through a three-hour training. The training is done up until Election Day.