Elections

Arlington residents report issues keeping them from voting

Why Americans don’t vote (and what to do about it)

If Didn’t Vote had been a candidate in the 2016 election, it would have won by a landslide.
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If Didn’t Vote had been a candidate in the 2016 election, it would have won by a landslide.

Voters at T.A. Howard Middle School in Arlington reported early Tuesday morning that there were no paper ballots available for them to use and that the electronic ballot machine wasn’t working.

Heider Garcia, elections commissioner for Tarrant County, told the Star-Telegram that the election judge wasn’t able to locate the paper ballots for one of the precincts and immediately called the commission for replacements.

The commission printed about 100 ballots and when they dropped them off at T.A. Howard, the original ballots were found.

However, during that time, some people who were in line to vote had left, according to reports.

Garcia said in the time before the paper ballots were found, voters had the option of using the electronic voting machine, which he said was working.

“We sent a technician there to make sure,” Garcia said.

Sam Taylor, communications director for the Texas secretary of state, confirmed that the location immediately made emergency ballots available for voters.

Rep. Tony Tinderholt said he also heard about the problems in Arlington but didn’t have any firsthand knowledge of what happened.

Tinderholt said issues like these continue to arouse distrust in the system. T.A. Howard serves mostly Republican voters, he said.

“I wish there was better quality control and checking done the day before,” Tinderholt said.

There have been no other “major issues” at any voting locations in Tarrant County, Garcia said. There have been calls about clerks not showing up on time and some written complaints about electioneering.

Garcia wasn’t able to provide a number on how many people have voted in Tarrant County by 1 p.m.

“We’ll know tonight,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it would monitor Tarrant County on Election Day for compliance with federal voting rights laws.

On Election Day, staff members will be available all day by telephone to receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov ((link sends e-mail), and by a complaint form on the Department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.

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.

Nichole Manna: 817-390-7684, @NicholeManna

Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz square off on November 6, 2018 in their hard-fought race that could help determine control of the Senate. Both say strong early voting statewide is a good sign for them.

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