Records exceeded every day of early voting

BY ALEXANDRIA RANDOLPH/GLYNIS CRAWFORD SMITH

The rate of registered voters who have submitted their ballot jumped to 34 percent as of Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Burnet County Elections officials had received 10,056 votes as of Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. The number totals roughly 34 percent of registered voters.

“At this point I don't think I've ever seen a higher percentage,” said Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson. “We're breaking the daily records every single day.

“We have 8,527 that voted in person,” Ferguson said, “and 1,529 absentee (mail-in) ballots.”

Ferguson said the turnout has been far beyond previous presidential elections.

“Every day we've had more voters than that day ever before in history,” he said. “It's been substantially larger every single day.”

Ferguson said a total of 1,197 voters cast their ballot on Monday, roughly four percent of registered voters in the county. By Tuesday the number of Burnet County early voters had grown by 1,306 to 2,117. Wednesday's vote was 1,268. Between Thursday and Saturday, 3,063 people had made it to the polls to vote. On Monday, 1,805 ballots were cast.

Ferguson said votes collected on Saturday, a total of 517, were the highest that a polling Saturday had seen.

“We had 352 on Saturday in 2008,” he said. “This is the biggest Saturday we've ever had.”

Voting opportunities

Early voting will continue through Friday, Nov. 4. Voters who have application in by today, Friday, Oct. 28, for a ballot by mail must see they are received in the Burnet voter office by 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

To vote early by mail, Texans must fit one of four categories. They must be 65 years of age or older, away from their county of registration on Election Day and during the period for early voting, be disabled, or be confined to jail but otherwise eligible to vote.

Formal applications for a ballot by mail can be downloaded and sent to county early voting clerks by fax or email. All applications must be received (not postmarked) by Oct. 28. Voters who have applied but have not received their ballot should call their county election’s office and speak to the early voting clerk to check the status 

Voter information can be found online at www.VoteTexas.gov or by calling 1-800-252-VOTE.

The polls will be open for early voting at Burnet County Courthouse and Marble Falls Courthouse Annex on Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and will be open longer, 12 hours a day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., during the second week of early voting.

Election Day

On Election Day, Nov. 8, registered voters may only vote at the polling location within their precinct.

Ferguson said rumours about new voting precinct laws are untrue. With 20 precinct polling locations total, each precinct is only assigned one location, and citizens within that precinct may only vote at that location. Polling locations in each precinct are listed at www.burnetcounty.org at the Elections page under the Polling Locations tab.

No fraud

Ferguson has fielded a few frantic calls about voting.

“When people boo-booed on their own ballot, they thought the machine did it,” he said. “In every single case, it was something they did. Luckily, in every case they asked for help, I think.”

The most common error is not new to this election, Ferguson explained. It pertains primarily to those voting a straight ticket.

“When a person votes a straight ticket, the machine will instantly mark the whole ballot and jump back to the presidential ballot,” he said. “People want to or think they have to click once more. But the second time it unchecks the vote.

“The machine gives a warning. It says you have just unselected a straight party vote but voters are confused when they see they haven't voted for President on the summary screen.”

“Then the rumors fly,” said Ferguson with a patient sigh. “Some people who had no trouble want to hear about the story they heard.”

The Burnet County Elections Office, 512-715-5288, is located in the records building behind the Burnet County Courthouse North Annex, 1701 East Polk Street, in Burnet. It is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The email address is elections@burnetcountytexas.org and complete voter information can be found on the “Elections” page under the “Departments” tabl of the Burnet County website, www.BurnetCountyTexas.org.

 

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