County administering three elections in two months | Alert
This is a busy season for staff at the Guadalupe County Elections Office and for voters at home and abroad.
However, with perhaps three intersecting elections, County Elections Administrator Lisa Hayes wants to help keep some things clear for county voters.
Early voting is currently underway for the March 1 primary elections. Next is the election for the May 7 constitutional amendments, and then May 24 will be the second round of primary elections, if a second round primary is needed, Hayes said.
“It just means a lot of overlapping election calendars because we will be sending out ballots for the May 7 election by March 18,” she said. “So we will still be finishing the primary and sending out the ballots for the May 7 election as we begin to prepare for the second round.
“It’s a lot.”
With so much going on, county officials fear voters will be confused.
For example, some voters will receive absentee ballots for the primary election, which they will complete and return. Things could get confusing when they receive mail-in ballots for the next election around the same time, Hayes said.
“I’m always concerned about voter fatigue,” she said. “That’s my biggest concern, we don’t want voters to feel like they’re giving up.”
Early voting for the joint primaries began on Monday February 14 and continues through February 25. Remaining hours include 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Early polling stations are closed on Monday.
“One of the main things voters need to be aware of is that we’re closed for early voting on Monday, February 21 for President’s Day,” Hayes said. “I would hate for a voter to come out and think they’re going to vote when the polls are closed for the federal holiday.”
In addition, voters must be informed of changes in polling stations.
Early voting sites include the usual locations such as the Seguin Elections Office, Cibolo Fire Station No. 2, Central Texas Technology Center, Berlin’s New City Hall, and the Office of Schertz elections.
However, the change comes as Redemptive Grace Ministries replaces Grace Church New Braunfels, which was unable to host a site, Hayes said.
“For the primary election, we had to change a polling station,” she said. “But for the May 7 election, there were several polling station changes due to availability.”
The county typically uses 35 polling stations for Election Day—their locations are available on the Elections Office website. But the May 7 election is scheduled for a weekend, which has caused logistical problems for some of the venues, Hayes said.
“It’s an election on Saturday as opposed to our normal election on Tuesday,” she said. “We use a lot of churches and places like that. On a Saturday in the summer when you hit Mother’s Day, weddings, things like that, they don’t have the weekend availability that they normally have during the week.
Polling locations unavailable for the May 7 election include Texas Lutheran University, McQueeney Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Post 245 in Seguin.
Hayes suggested on Tuesday that the county post signs alerting voters to the unavailability of such sites, and the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court approved.
The county’s move a few years ago to voting centers allowing registered Guadalupe County voters to vote at one of the county’s polling places alleviated some problems, County Judge Kyle Kutscher said.
Add the hard work of county staff to make things smoother and he had no doubt that every election would go off without a hitch, Kutscher said.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of time and effort put into making sure we have plenty of polling places, which makes it very convenient for the public,” he told Hayes. “I know there have been some challenges with a few polling places, but we still have a lot of convenience in this system and it is thanks to the manual work and the relationships you have established with these people who own the properties.
“So please make sure people don’t have an excuse not to vote.”