Elections

Tuesday is Election Day in Texas. Here are a few things you need to know

It’s that time of year again — Election Day.

Voters across Texas will head to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on local issues — school board races, city council elections, school bond proposals and more — as well as 10 requests to amend the Texas Constitution.

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

“I recommend people get it done as soon as they can,” said Heider Garcia, Tarrant County’s election administrator. “If you can do it before you go to work, that’s great. Or maybe go on your lunch hour.”

But anyone in line before the polls close at 7 p.m. will get to vote.

Tarrant County voters have already turned out in record numbers for early voting in this year’s constitutional amendment election, with 48,189 ballots cast in person and by mail. Those votes represent just 4.2% of Tarrant County voters.

The statewide early voter turnout average is 4.98%, based on the 795,348 early votes were cast, election records show.

Garcia said he doesn’t know if big crowds will turn out for Election Day.

“It’s hard to guess,” he said. “We’ve had elections where 70 percent of the turnout voted early. And we’ve had it where it’s half early and half on Election Day.”

The good news for anyone heading to the polls: The weather.

It’s expected to be mostly cloudy with temperatures ranging from the upper 50s in the morning to around 70 degrees in the afternoon. And there’s a very slim chance of rain, said Matt Stalley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Local and statewide election officials are encouraging Texans to head to the polls.

“I encourage all eligible Texans to cast a vote so that they can play an active role in shaping the direction of their communities and the Lone Star State,” Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs said in a statement to the Star-Telegram.

Election Day

Here are a few things you need to know before heading to the polling place:

New equipment: Voters will find new voting equipment at polling sites. These new 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 you review that sheet, you’ll put it in one of the scanners to cast your vote.

Vote anywhere: You’re no longer locked in to your traditional polling place. This election, for the first time, Tarrant County will have countywide vote centers that let voters cast their ballots at any polling place in the county on Election Day. There are 332 vote centers, eight fewer polling sites in Tarrant County than last year. Garcia said the county will maintain the same number of locations at least through the 2020 election. “If you see a ‘vote here sign,’ it doesn’t matter where you live, if you have 10 to 15 minutes to walk in and vote, then you should,” Garcia said. A list of all the vote centers is online at tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.

Bring an ID: Make sure you bring a current photo ID to the polls. 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.

Get a ride: Anyone who needs a ride to the polls can catch one for free on Trinity Metro’s bus routes and TEXRail. If pre-scheduled, free rides also are available through the ACCESS paratransit service; the Tarrant County Transportation Services, which provides transportation for those 65 or older as well as anyone with disabilities; Northeast Transportation Services, another para-transit service for the disabled or 65 or older; Arlington’s Via, which provides rides in parts of Arlington; and Handitran.

Need help: For any election information, call the Tarrant County Elections Center at 817-831-8683.

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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.
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