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Long lines don’t deter local voters

With a four-plus hour practice in her rear-view mirror Nov. 6, Texas State student and Hays High alumna Abbie Blackwell understood there might be a line when she took to McCormick Middle School to cast her ballot on Election Day.

Little did Blackwell realize was that her polling site, Precinct 223, was by-and-large one of the most crowded locations in the county. When the polls closed at 7 p.m. that night, more than 200 people were still waiting in line to vote.

But the delay didn’t deter Blackwell, who said she knew the wait was going to be “worth it.” Blackwell was one of a host of Buda-area residents who stuck it out and exercised their right to vote, even if it meant taking time out of their day to do it.

“The last time I voted, it took me about five minutes. I’ve never been to a voting site like this before,” Blackwell said Nov. 6. “I just got back from a four-and-a-half hour practice and I still have to study, but it’s okay.”

For Buda resident Araceli Sanchez, who got in line roughly 20 minutes before the 7 p.m. cutoff, being able to vote was an important task for her to do. However, taking care of her children and her household meant waiting until Election Day to cast her ballot.

The U.S. Senate Race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke was one motivating factor for Sanchez to get in line.

“I understand for some people, it’s waiting a long time and they have other things to do,” Sanchez said. “But for me, it’s very important.”

Work was a primary reason Joseph Reyes opted to wait until Election Day to vote. He said it took him roughly 90 minutes to make his way near the front of the line and close to the polls.

Reyes said he was surprised more people didn’t take advantage of early voting, but also understood the hectic lives people have.

Family and friends were ample motivators for Reyes to vote.

“They were pretty much threatening me if I don’t vote, I can’t come home,” Reyes joked. “That’s motivating for me.”

Buda resident Mark Kelly said waiting in line was important as “you always have to vote. That’s why we’re America.”

“This is what we’re supposed to be doing, voting,” Kelly said. “The fact everyone is out here and doing it is great.”

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