Election officials urge voters to vote early and avoid long lines on Election Day

Early voting starts Tuesday morning, but that didn't stop people like Beulah Bacon-Poole who drove up to an East Austin polling place ready to do her civic duty on Monday morning.

"If you don't vote, you don’t have a voice,” said Poole who promised to be back at a polling place on Tuesday. 

Early voting runs through February 28. Voter registration at historic levels is why election officials are urging people to take advantage of the multiple polling locations available. "And what I want to say is, voters, don’t wait too late because you are going to put yourself into a line and you don’t want to do that,” said Travis County Clerk Dana De Beauvoir.

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There are 33 polling places in Travis County and all are open voting sites.

By going online, you can also see which location to avoid because of long lines. "You just go to www.votetravis.com, click on Wait Times, and it will be a made that comes up with little traffic signal icons in Red, Yellow, and Green, and what you want to do is pick a location that has a Green signal on it,” said De Beauvoir.

According to the Texas Secretary of State's Office, Travis County had 813,626 people registered to vote as of January, although that number was updated Monday morning to 822,004. A little more than 65,000 are designated as suspense voters or individuals who have paperwork errors like inaccurate addresses. Corrections can be made at polling places with proper ID.


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Williamson County has almost 350,000 registered voters and Hays County has just over 141,000.

Those who didn't vote in the last big election in Travis County will notice something different when they go to the polls. New voting machines now provide paper printouts that are collected and held in traditional ballot boxes. A soft launch of the machines happened this past November when the ballot was dominated by constitutional issues.

People who spoke to FOX 7 said they liked the new machines. "Hopefully this is a step more in that direction where we can have a little more faith in the validity of the turnout and the results,” said Josh Babetski who votes in Hays County. 

The voting system can't be compromised by internet hackers because the machines are not directly connected to the web.

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"What we are going to have facing us though is, all of the misinformation that’s out there, on Facebook and other social media, and the only advice I offer to voters is, if it sounds preposterous, then it probably is, and please don’t spread it,” said De Beauvoir.

One more important date to remember: the last day to get a ballot by mail form is Feb. 21

To learn more about the primary election and for voter information, visit the FOX 7 Austin election page.