Tarrant County voters overcome minor setbacks at the polls

Around Tarrant County this morning, motivated and activated voters did their best to overcome any setbacks that would have prevented them from casting their ballots.

Patricia Capps, 64, was having a little difficulty voting remotely from a handicapped parking area at Parkview Elementary School in north Fort Worth.

She pressed the white button attached to a pole in the parking lot as the posted sign instructed, and then waited, thinking perhaps it wasn’t working. After several minutes, an election official emerged from inside the polling site and offered to help her cast her ballot.

Her husband, Jimmie Capps, 64, had voted earlier because she hadn’t finished getting ready, then returned home to pick her up and bring her back to the polls.

“I’m very excited,” he said of the election. “It’s going to make a big change in the way the government progresses.”

“He’s all worked up,” Patricia said.

She said both she and her husband believe this is an important election for the future of the country.

“I believe our kids need all the help they can get,” she said.

In Aledo, election workers complained of a mock jail display by former County Commissioner Jim Webster, who was towing a jail on a trailer behind his pickup with Democratic “inmates” Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama inside. It included Ted Cruz campaign signs and the words “Deep State Demon Rats.”

He had been driving it around Weatherford on Saturday and Sunday and parked it near the Aledo Community Center voting site off-and-on Tuesday.

Election worker Sharon Wayland said election officials called the Aledo Police Department, but nothing was done.

“It just seems to be highly unethical to be parking something that offensive right outside a polling place,” she said.

At the polling site at Trinity Terrace Retirement Homes in downtown Fort Worth, wait times averaged between 45 minutes to an hour as of 10 a.m. The line of voters flowed outside of the small lobby and onto the sidewalk. The polling location had just one electronic machine, so most people took the option to use a paper ballot.

“Is your name A-through-L? That’s the worst line,” one woman warned as she left. “It’s OK though.”

Handley Methodist Church in east Fort Worth was also bustling. With just one electronic machine and seven paper ballot stations, an election worker who has worked every election since 2016 said that at 7 a.m., the lines were the longest she had seen. As of 9:30 a.m., 84 people had voted at the church.

All Saints Catholic Church on the north side was fairly quiet in the morning. Ann Lopez, 68, Emily Ramirez, 65, and Lucy Lopez, 75, had all voted early but arrived at 6:30 a.m. to encourage Latinos in the neighborhood to vote for Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. They said they were a little disappointed to not see more of a turnout thus far.

Meanwhile in Northeast Tarrant County, voting lines varied since the polls opened at 7 a.m. There were anecdotal reports of long lines at some sites.

In Euless, election clerk Richard Girouard said turnout had been light Tuesday morning at South Euless Elementary School. However, early voting totals were over 17,000 at the Euless Public Library, he said.

Voters were waiting in line Tuesday morning at Colleyville Assembly of God. By 8 a.m., more than 60 had voted. In the 2016 election, about 700 voted at this Colleyville church. Election officials are expecting many more today.

“We’ve already had two first-time voters,” election judge Sharon Mayes said.

Reporters Domingo Ramirez Jr., Stephen English, Nichole Manna and Tom Uhler contributed to this report.

The Star-Telegram has joined ProPublica’s Electionland project to track and monitor voting problems nationwide. If you experience any problems on Election Day in Tarrant County that stop you from voting or make it difficult, share your experience with us by text message, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. For more information about Electionland, click here.

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