Elections

Texans: Tuesday is Election Day. Here’s what you need to know

Election Day is finally here.

By the end of Tuesday, the television ads, robo calls and text messages will stop.

But first, Texans need to head to the polls and vote.

“We will be ready for high turnout and hopefully serve everyone to the best of our abilities,” said Heider Garcia, Tarrant County’s election administrator.

More than 4.8 million Texans — nearly 40 percent of registered voters in the state’s largest 30 counties — voted early. That includes 465,817 Tarrant County voters, state election data shows.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“As you head to the polls, please be prepared to join the millions of Texans who are eager to cast their votes,” Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said in a statement. “Your votes will count, and your voices will be heard.

“So please, get out and vote!”

At the top of the ballot is the U.S. Senate battle between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

Justice sending election observers

The U.S. Department of Justice is sending federal election monitors to 35 communities across the country, including Tarrant County, to make sure voting rights are upheld. They will also be in Harris and Waller counties.

Texas Secretary of State inspectors also will be watching polling sites, including three in Tarrant County, to make sure there are no voting problems, said Sam Taylor, a spokesman with the state agency that oversees elections.

Election Day do’s and don’ts

Election officials ask that voters prepare before they head out to the polls Tuesday, first looking up their polling location, because it might have changed since the last election, and then reviewing sample ballots online at the Tarrant County Election website.

Election Day voters will use paper ballots.

And this is the last year Texans will be able to cast a straight party vote, under a new law that requires voters to weigh in on each race individually starting in 2020.

Voters need to bring a photo ID to the polls. State-approved photo IDs include the 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 the U.S. passport.

But voters need to leave at home any campaign paraphernalia. “Don’t come in with shirts, hats or fliers for any candidate or proposition on the ballot,” Garcia said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. But anyone in line before 7 p.m. will get to vote, no matter how long it takes.

Anyone who needs assistance on Election Day may ask poll workers for help, Garcia said.

For election information, local voters may call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683. Voters statewide may call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-252-8683.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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