AUSTIN, Texas - On the last day to vote, voters in Travis County headed to the polls to cast their ballot. "I think we should do something,” said voter Jeffrey Conte. “I mean this is our country,”
Catriona McClowry said that voters need to do, “what you can.”
“You don't want to miss out on an opportunity,” she said. “This is a big election."
A big election that has brought a big turnout. The Travis County Clerk’s Office said that at 6 PM, more than 47,000 voted on Tuesday.
“I think regardless of who you are for or against, exercising your right to vote is very important," McClowry said.
McClowry said she didn’t have to wait long; no more than half an hour. But, other sites across town had varying times.
One location, the South Austin Senior Center, found a way to lighten the mood while voters waited. A mariachi band on the sidewalk played to voters as they waited and came in and out of the polls.
At the Austin Oaks Church, free tacos were handed out to those in line.
While turnout was steady, voters said it wasn’t about the music or the food, but what election day is all about. "I believe it is very important to vote,” Conte said. “It’s the only connection we have is to do it. I’m 73 and I’ve been doing it since I was 18 years old."
Conte said for him, election day is special. He enjoys going to the polls. Regardless of how long he has to wait if the weather is bad, or what he may face, something about going out to the site and casting his ballot is exciting.
“I personally like to go to the polls on the exact day to vote," he said.
But, said he understands that others may not have the same option. But, as long as they vote - that's what matters.
In Travis County, during the early voting period, nearly 65% of registered voters cast their ballots.
Now, McClowry says it’s up to the remainder, saying if it comes down to feeling unsafe at the polls -- that shouldn't be a factor. “I think everyone has been extremely courteous and cautious and no one has been controversial,” she said.
Making sure that doesn't happen are poll watchers and monitors. Becca Hyatt has been out at the Ruiz Library and says she hasn't seen any unsafe behavior during her shift and hope it stays that way.
“Just making sure that everyone can vote, people don't get intimidated from voting and that they don't get their vote persuaded to close to the polling place," Hyatt said.