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Commissioners add eastern voting location

By Brittany Anderson

HAYS COUNTY — Eastern Hays county is getting another early voting location, marking the county’s 14th spot to early vote for the upcoming November election. 

The Hays County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the county’s early voting schedule and locations on July 19, adding the Hays CISD transportation building in Uhland off High Road to the list. 

Simon Middle School previously served as the east side’s early voting location, but due to heightened safety concerns following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde in May, the school was removed. 

Hays County elections administrator Jennifer Doinoff said that Simon MS was not willing to let the county use the school as an early voting location, but that the Hays CISD transportation building could be used. 

The item was met with much public comment, with many stressing that consistency in locations and accessibility is important, and that every vote counts. 

“Changing the location on a frequent basis as a knee-jerk response based on the latest whims of developers is not effective, and has no long-term objective,” resident Shannon Fitzpatrick said. “People want to know where they can consistently, physically and safely vote.” 

One emailed comment noted that taking away Simon MS as an early voting location removes opportunities for students to see democracy in action.

“I strongly feel that the younger children are exposed to civic engagement, the higher the likelihood they’ll turn into regular voters in adulthood,” the resident said. 

Hays County Democratic party chair Mark Trahan said he looked at the numbers from the most recent primary election and found that in the eastern portion of the county, there were 422 votes on election day, making up 3.23% of the county-wide percentage of votes — warranting another location as “access is important.” 

Hays County Republican party chair Bob Parks viewed the situation differently, however. Parks said that because “nine of the early voting locations are immediately along the I-35 corridor” and that many people in the eastern part of the county already travel that way daily, adding another location isn’t needed. 

“If we’re going to do that philosophy, to be fair to all of the people in the county which each of you [the commissioners]represent, I suggest that we put early voting locations out on FM 32 close to Devil’s Backbone, on FM 1826 by the Travis County line, out in Henly and on Mount Sharp Road, Pump Station Road and Fischer Store Road,” Parks said. “Because all of those people have to travel further to get to a voting station right now than anybody does in Uhland.” 

Pct. 4 Commissioner Walt Smith also reiterated that Hays county is already running more early voting locations than required by the Texas Election Code, which only requires one location for early voting per precinct. 

The commissioners still unanimously approved adding the Uhland location, as concerns with possible voter suppression are heightened both in the area and around the state and country.

Hays county is a ‘vote center county,’ meaning all registered voters can cast a ballot at any location that is open during early voting or on election day. Early voting days and hours were approved by the commissioners for Oct. 24 through Oct. 30 on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The early voting locations are as follows:

Kyle

• Kyle City Hall
• Live Oak Academy
• Hays CISD Admin Arnold Building
• Hays County Development Services building (Yarrington Road) 

Buda

• Buda City Hall
• Sunfield Station

Dripping Springs

• Patriots’ Hall
• Hays County Pct. 4 Office

San Marcos

• Hays County Government Center
• Texas State University LBJ Student Center
• 401 Broadway Street

Wimberley

• Wimberley Community Center
• Texan Academy

Uhland

• Hays CISD Transportation building

About Author

Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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