LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On the first day of early voting for the Nov. 6 election, voters were seen lining up outside polling places across Lubbock.
A record 9,191 voters checked in at Lubbock County polling locations on the first day of early voting. That’s compared to 2,408 in 2014, 2,917 in 2010 and 1,916 in 2006.
Election officials warn the large turnout could last until Election Day after more than 7,200 new voters registered after the March primary.
“If those people then turn out on Election Day that will make for some really long lines,” Dorothy Kennedy, Lubbock County Election administrator, said. “We’re encouraging every body to take advantage of these 12 days of early voting.”
Kennedy called the influx of registrations, bringing the total number in Lubbock County to 175,889, very high compared to other years of a gubernatorial election.
According to Lubbock County, in 2014 there were 157,273 voters and in 2010 there were 150,291.
“All the foot traffic and people we saw the last three weeks before the deadline hit Oct. 9, that’s what our office typically sees in a presidential, not a gubernatorial year,” Kennedy said. “People are excited and motivated. Just seeing, our polls opened at 8:00 this morning, and to see people already in line at 8:00 knocking on the doors going, ‘How much longer?', that’s exciting.”
Kennedy says it’s important for voters to remember to bring one of the accepted seven forms of federal or state identification in order to cast their ballot in Texas. If a registered voter does not have one of those forms of identification, they can bring a copy of a birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or voter registration certificate and complete a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.
“It can be an out-of-state, like a New Mexico license or a Colorado license,” Kennedy said. “A lot of Tech students have those and use those, fill out the impediment form and go forth to get their voting done.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, in June of 2017, signed House Bill 25 to eliminate straight-party voting in Texas in September of 2020, making this the last election where voters will have that option to vote for all candidates of one party with just one selection.
“Right now the way the legislation, the law reads, this year is the last year for straight-party [voting],” Kennedy said. “That can change because legislators will meet and get back together in 2019. They may look at that and decide if they want to keep it that way or go ahead and go back to straight-party [voting]. We will have to just wait and find out for that one.”
Kennedy urges voters to review their ballots before casting, especially if using the straight-party selection. There are ballot items that aren’t chosen by the straight-party option.
“It’s really going to be important that if people vote straight-party that they really review the pages and go over and vote on the things not tied to straight-party, such as we said the [Lubbock County] venue tax and the Lubbock ISD bond issue and the two water districts aren’t tied to straight-party either,” Kennedy said. “It’s always imperative. Every election we stress, whether we have straight-party or not, review your ballots before you cast ballots because once it’s done, we can’t go back and get it.”
If you notice an issue with your ballot, Kennedy said to stop and notify an election worker.
Click here for early voting locations and times in Lubbock County. Early voting ends November 2. Election day is November 6.
Keep in mind all rules for voting centers, such as prohibition of weapons, applies for the facilities housing the vote center.