‘Super-lines’ coming to a polling place near you on Election Day

People stream into Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin (KXAN Photo) into Shiner Hall to vote in Austin (KXAN Photo)
People stream into Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friday marks the final day of early voting in Central Texas. Though officials say the number of people who cast ballots early broke records, it wasn’t enough to save what some are calling “super-lines” come Election Day on Tuesday.

Williamson County voter, Linda Dade, is sticking to her theory though: the early bird gets the worm. “Oh my goodness, I am going to avoid the lines on Tuesday so voting early is a must. It only took me five minutes max,” Dade said.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said by lunch time on Friday, more than 10,000 people had lined up. She expects more than 40,000 to vote early by the day’s end. Still not enough to reach the county’s goal set before election season, despite breaking records.

“I don’t think we are going to make 75 percent unfortunately. I think we are going to see a lot of pressure on election day,” DeBeauvoir said.

The county is prepping for long lines on Tuesday, not necessarily by increasing the number of voting booths, but rather using them strategically. “We rearrange for areas that have had light turnout and beef up the areas that have had high voter turnout,” she said.

In Williamson County, it’s a lesson learned from the past that has them making bigger plans this time around. “During the general gubernatorial election of 2014, we didn’t necessarily deploy as many machines as we should have on election day. It was bad weather then too. This time around we are deploying everything we’ve got,” said Christopher Davis, elections administrator for the county.

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office says the number of people to hit the ballot box early is up six percent compared to the last presidential election.

Travis County Elections is still hiring for election day workers. They’ll be employing about 1,500 people. All judges and alternate judges have been hired and trained, but there is room on the “on call” list for election day clerks. It pays $10 an hour. If you’re interested, call 512-854-4996.

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