AUSTIN, Texas - As election day approaches, the Travis County Clerk’s Office is preparing for a large turnout. Dana DeBeauvoir said hiring new poll workers has gone smoothly but finding polling places has not been as easy.
DeBeauvoir is working on acquiring 200 polling places.
“We’ve learned a lot of important lessons from the runoff and one of them is that we do need larger places,” said DeBeauvoir. “Some of our other voting centers are simply too small to allow for the kind of social distancing that we must have."
DeBeauvoir is asking the public to find donated spaces for Election Day. A polling place needs to be about 1,500 square feet, have good parking, and be ADA accessible. Churches, community centers, and storefronts have worked well in the past.
Voters can expect the same health and safety procedures in November. The Travis County Clerk’s Office is also anticipating an influx of mail-in ballots.
“We really need to be prepared for a really big onslaught of by-mail voting,” DeBeauvoir said. “We kept ahead of it this last time so we got an idea of how many people we need, how much space we need in order to get perhaps 100,000 by mail ballots processed and tallied appropriately.”
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Controversy surrounding postal service delays and changes has caused an uproar among party lines. On Tuesday, the Postmaster General Louis Dejoy released a statement, saying “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending initiatives until after the November election.”
Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett commended Dejoy’s decision but still has questions for the head of USPS.
“I am encouraged, it shows that when there is a public outcry when Congress does its job and holds this administration accountable you get change,” said Doggett. “I do still have some questions, it is unclear from his statement whether the kind of overtime necessary to get mail delivered timely will be permitted.”
On Saturday the House will vote on the proposed “The Delivering for America Act,” which would prohibit USPS from making any operation changes or level of service changes before the election. The bill will also provide USPS with $25 billion.
DeBeauvoir's office is working on other sufficient methods of ensuring ballots get processed safely and in a timely manner. Anyone interested in donating space for Election Day can call her office.