Could Texas see increase in curbside voting as primary runoff voting period begins?

Morning Dose

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Curbside voting is not new to the Texas Election Code, but more voters may opt in to the drive-by method of casting ballots, as well as other alternative approaches to voting, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Texas Election Code states, “If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health, on the voter’s request, an election officer shall deliver a ballot to the voter at the polling place entrance or curb.”

Voters who plan to go alone to vote curbside are encouraged to call ahead to county election officials so they can prepare the necessary materials to bring to the curb, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

“If a voter feels like they are symptomatic or may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, we encourage them to utilize curbside voting,” the state’s director of elections, Keith Ingram, said. “Curbside voting allows a person to vote from their car and it’s available at all polling locations in the state of Texas for every election.”

Every polling place in the state must have curbside voting available “for those persons who feel like they may injure their health if they enter the polling place,” he said.

“It’s been the law in Texas for a long time,” Ingram said.

“Curbside voting has been used for a while, but it’s not used en masse,” Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley said. “In truth, elections are not set up to be drive thru, that’s sort of what this is, so it’s a little bit slower process.”

Representatives from the Texas Secretary of State’s elections division have been in regular contact with county elections administrators to discuss ways to safely conduct elections as the pandemic continues.

“Election officials across the state are taking precautions to make sure that both poll workers and voters are safe from each other during the voting process,” Ingram said.

An advisory from the state encouraged voters to wear masks at polling locations, and bring their own hand sanitizer, among other health protocols.

Texas counties have access to more than $27.4 million in federal funding to pay for resources they might need.

Voters with additional questions about curbside voting can find information on the Texas Secretary of State’s election website, or by inquiring with local election officials.

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