Voting where you want? Maybe

The days of Hays County residents having to vote at their specified precincts on Election Day could be coming to an end.

On Tuesday, Hays County Commissioners approved a resolution in support of participating in a countywide polling place program, which, if approved, would allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling site in the county on Election Day.

Jennifer Anderson, Hays County Elections Administrator, said county officials must submit an application to the state that includes a plan and methodology for implementing the program. Anderson said she hopes  the county receives state approval prior to the November 2019 election period.

Currently, voters must cast their ballots at their designated precincts on Election Day. Residents who vote during early voting currently can cast a ballot at any open polling site.

“Allowing Election Day voters to do the same (as in early voting) would avoid issues caused when voters show up at the wrong precinct,” according to the release.

Anderson said all governmental entities in the county were in favor of the program and planned to bring up their own resolutions soon. For Hays County to be approved for the program, all jurisdictions must be in favor of it, according to a release.

Hays County Democratic Chair Donna Haschke said Feb. 26 the proposal is “a true example of bipartisan cooperation that supports the interest of all voters and strengthens democracy by increasing citizen participation in the electoral process.”

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said he looks forward to improvements the county “is undertaking to increase voter participating and election integrity.”

Anderson said county officials will hold two public meetings on the proposal, expected to be set for late March.

They will also form a committee made up of political party representatives and political subdivision planners to determine polling locations.

Anderson said while different types of elections call for different numbers of polling locations, she does not expect a major change in the number of polling locations for each of those elections.

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