Nearly half of all registered voters in Burnet County have already cast their ballots either by absentee or by voting in-person during the first 10 days of early voting.
“Considering the volatility of the political picture today, I am not really surprised at the turnout, even with everything going on (due to the COVID-19 pandemic),” Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson said. “Nothing surprises me anymore. It seems like every two years, it’s more crazy and there are more people. It’s just nuts.”
Burnet County residents still have four more days of early voting — including extended hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at all four polling locations: the Marble Falls Courthouse Annex, the Burnet AgriLife Extension building, the Granite Shoals Community Center or the Joann Cole Mitte Library in Bertram.
Through 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, 16,652 of Burnet County’s 33,757 registered voters, or 49.3 percent, had cast their ballots. This includes 14,123 ballots made in person as well as 2,529 mailin or dropped off absentee ballots.
This year, voters also can drop off a mail-in ballot at the Burnet County Elections Administration office, 106 W. Washington, Burnet, up until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, as long as they have their valid identification. An estimated 3,500 mail-in ballots were requested by eligible voters this year.
Saturday, Oct. 24, was the slowest day so far for early voting as 611 people took advantage of the extended hours. As of Monday, Oct. 26, the following number of votes had been cast at the various polling sites:
• Marble Falls Courthouse South Annex, 5,348 votes (37.86 percent).
• Burnet AgriLife Auditorium, 4,874 votes (34.5 percent).
• Granite Shoals Community Center, 1,789 votes (12.67 percent).
• Joann Cole Mitte Library, Bertram, 2,114 votes (14.97 percent).
The number of people who have voted early in 2020 has already exceeded the total early voting turnout for both the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 gubernatorial election.
According to Burnet County elections records, 12,218 out of 28,938 registered voters (42.22 percent) cast their ballots during early voting in the 2016 presidential election. That election had a total turnout of 67 percent, or 19,517 total ballots cast and included just 1,811 mail-in ballots. A total of 5,488 votes were cast on election day in the 2018 election.
In 2018, a total of 11,349 out of 30,534 registered voters (37.17 percent) came out to the polls during early voting. Overall, for the entire 2018 election, the turnout was 61 percent as 18,693 people cast ballots. This included just 1,817 mail-in ballots. A total of
5,527 votes were cast on election day in the 2018 election.
Despite fears and concerns about COVID-19, people are still coming out to the early voting sites and calling the elections office at a record pace as the 2020 presidential election has been one of the most hotly contested races in recent memory.
“Voters are way more emotional this year it seems,” Ferguson said. “Every phone call can be like a domestic disturbance. My staff and I are called all sorts of names by some people and then we are also told how wonderful we are by others. It takes a mental toll on you to do this job and you have to have deep scar tissue.”
Voters can visit any of the county’s 21 polling locations on election day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as Burnet County was added to the Countywide Polling Location Program.
For more information about local procedures, go to burnetcountytexas.org. Also, find a comprehensive voter’s guide on the Burnet Bulletin’s website at burnetbulletin.com or in the Wednesday, Oct. 21, issue of the newspaper.
“Nothing surprises me anymore. It seems like every two years, it's more crazy and there are more people. It's just nuts.”
— Doug Ferguson
Burnet County Elections Administrator