AUSTIN, Texas - The Travis County Clerk is working quickly to secure additional polling locations before Election Day. One of the plans is to use music venues, many of which are still closed because of statewide shutdown orders.
Live Nation concert venues have been offered up by the company in an effort to support voting. They are hoping to provide 100 venues nationwide on Election Day. So far Emo’s is the only Live Nation venue confirmed as a polling site in Austin.
“I'm very much looking forward to seeing, actually, how voters enjoy and are able to use some of these new sites. We do tell voters, because everything is so new, double-check before you go out the door,” said Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.
Gyms, shopping centers, even a P. Terry’s dining room in Westlake, will be transformed into polling locations on November 3.
“We're going to be in a couple of hotel ballrooms. I know that's interesting and something a little different that we've never done before. We'll have locations out at the Renaissance Hotel at the Arboretum, so up in that northwest part of Austin, for Election Day,” DeBeauvoir said.
The county would like to avoid using elementary schools and grocery stores this year. Although, not all school buildings are off the table. “We are using some schools for Election Day, especially with AISD because they have made a change in their programming that allows their teachers to have their in-service training day on Election Day. So that's fantastic,” said DeBeauvoir.
Travis County will make five mega centers available during early voting. Those are larger venues that can accommodate more people at once and they will offer extended hours.
“There are some very willing people who have helped us be creative in trying to find large enough places that allow social distancing for voters, both inside and outside of the polling place, and available parking or at least a way to easily get to the location,” DeBeauvoir said.
The list of Election Day polling locations will be finalized by county commissioners in the next two weeks.
DeBeauvoir said if there is a December runoff election some of the unique polling locations may be used a second time, however, once the pandemic is over and people return to work many of those new sites will no longer be an option.
The deadline to register to vote is October 5. Early voting begins October 13 and Election Day is November 3.
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