Voters say hours, locations make it harder to vote in Hays County

Early voting numbers are up in Hays County. (KXAN photo)
Early voting numbers are up in Hays County. (KXAN photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — There’s been a record-breaking number of early voters in many counties so far this year. In Hays County, the numbers are up, but some say the hours and the locations are making it hard for everyone to vote.

For the first week of early voting, counties like Travis and Williamson are staying open until 7 p.m., in Hays County, election officials are turning voters away at 5 p.m.

“Every time someone doesn’t vote, that’s another voice that we aren’t hearing,” said Hays County voter Austin Bryan.

A sea of campaign signs and long voting lines are leading to one of the county’s biggest election turnouts. “It was really crowded in there, we aren’t used to waiting that long,” said Bill Taylor.

To determine what locations are open and how long they stay open is based off of population collected from the 2010 census. Election officials say it’s the first year they’re beginning to see the need to stay open later.

“We’re definitely in growth, and does it need to be looked at? Yes mam,” said Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan. “We determined that this serves the area, and then by law we are required to be open 60 hours next week on account of population size.”

Since the last presidential election in 2012, the budget for the Hays County Elections office has grown by just over $80,000. The majority of that increase went to salaries and benefits. Cowan says they aren’t short staffed, but could always use some extra help.

“We are doing the best job we can and it’s not to detour any of our citizens in any form or fashion. And we’re picking facilities the best we can for the time needed,” said Cowan.

Hays County polls will be open later for the second week of early voting until 7 p.m. To see more times and locations click here. 

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