AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Election Day is Tuesday and early voting came to an end on Friday, with those heading to the polls voting on some pretty big races on the ballot. So, what can voters expect as they head to the polls to cast their votes?
According to election officials, the turnout for early voting in both Randall and Potter counties saw a lower turnout this year than in 2018.
“We had 12,234 people who voted early, that is about 1500 people less than what we had in 2018. While the numbers are good, they are not as good as they could have been,” said Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley.
“We were behind 2018 for most of the early voting, on the very last day we had a huge push, but we still finished 2,000 votes less than what was cast in 2018,” added Shannon Lackey, Randall County Elections Administrator.
Huntley said that it is believed that half of the voters vote early and half of the voters vote on Election Day.
“So, in all probability, we will have at least 12,000 people that will vote on Election Day,” said Huntley.
When voters come to cast their vote, they will see a change in the election process as due to the Texas Legislature, this election season, both Potter and Randall County are operating a new voter-verified paper system.
Huntley explains how it works:
“What you will see when you come this time is a voter-verified paper. So when you print, when you vote, you are going to print out what the selections were and you have the opportunity to look at what you selected and look it over. You must deposit that piece of paper in the scan, that is where it’s tabulated, you have to put it in the ballot box before you leave.”
Lackey said it has been a learning curve, but voters are adapting.
“So, like with anything brand new we have had to work out a few bugs, change a few things on how we were doing things. We found that voters don’t need as much assistance as we assumed that they might, so they are figuring it out really easily and they are able to cast their ballot. They have got to remember they have got to scan their printed vote record for their vote to count,” said Lackey.
Huntley said the most important thing to bring with you when you come out to vote is a photo ID.
“There are seven different forms of photo ID that are acceptable in texas, the most common one being the Texas driver’s license. If they don’t have a photo ID, then there are some other things they can bring instead, like a utility bill, or a check, and the most common there is their voter registration,” said Huntley.
According to Lackey, she said this early voting cycle, Randall County poll workers have encountered cell phone use the most. She said it is against state law to use an electronic device, like one that is capable of taking or recording pictures or sounds, in a polling place.
Another state law that voters must follow is the prohibition of electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place, which according to Huntley includes displaying campaign materials such as signs, banners, or literature or projecting sounds referring to candidates and issues.