Politics & Government

Tarrant voters head to polls to cast early ballots for local races, state proposals

More than 11,000 Tarrant County voters have cast ballots in person and by mail for the Nov. 5 election.

That’s more than twice as many, on the third day of early voting, as the 5,552 Tarrant voters who turned out at this point two years ago in the constitutional amendment election, state election records show.

This year, Tarrant voters are weighing in on a slew of issues, from city council, school board and school bond proposals to 10 requests to amend the Texas Constitution.

“I want to remind Texas voters to take advantage of the early voting period in order to make their voices heard,” Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs said in a statement. “It is critical that all eligible Texans have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the Lone Star State.”

Early voting runs through Nov. 1.

Harris County this year has seen the largest turnout, with 32,254 voters casting ballots in person and by mail through the end of Wednesday. Tarrant County came in second for turnout, according to local and state records.

Statewide, more than 192,000 voters cast ballots early through Wednesday, election records show.

In Tarrant County, this election is the first time voters will use new voting equipment.

The machines have a touchscreen where voters can review the ballot and make their choices. The machine will print a list of the choices made. After voters review that sheet, they’ll put it in one of the scanners to cast their vote.

And this election will be the first time Tarrant County operates countywide vote centers, which let voters cast their ballots at any polling place in the county on Election Day.

Election officials suggest voters read over sample ballots available at the Tarrant County elections website before heading to the polls. A list of early voting sites is available at that website as well.

And don’t forget to take a photo ID with you when you vote.

The seven state-approved photo IDs: Texas driver’s license, Texas election identification certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas license to carry a handgun, U.S. military ID card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo, and U.S. passport.

Anyone who doesn’t have one of those IDs and can’t get one before voting may still vote after showing another form of identification and filling out a “reasonable impediment declaration.”

For information about voting or early voting sites, call the Tarrant County Elections Center at 817-831-8683.

Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. After that, they’ll be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28 through Nov. 1.

There are more than 1.1 million registered voters in Tarrant County.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.