Voter Turnout On Day One

Election volunteer Stan Labay walks around outside the polling location at the El Campo public library Tuesday to answer voters questions and ensure they are social distancing while in line. Tuesday was the first day of early voting for the upcoming election, and a crowd of about 30 locals lined up to cast their ballots that morning.

Wharton County’s election polls opened Tuesday, the first time residents could cast a ballot since the pre-COVID era March primaries.

Early voting runs through Friday, Oct. 30 for the Nov. 3 General Election.

With the presidential contest on the ballot, turnout is expected to be especially heavy from Wharton County’s 25,573 registered voters. Elections Administrator Cindy Richter told the Leader-News 20,000 local votes could be cast.

The postponement of May election issues, including the City of El Campo at-large representative race and the charter amendment proposal that may change the way the city’s mayor is selected, also appear on this November’s ballot.

Richter encouraged everyone to plan on voting early and avoiding potentially long lines and unknown weather conditions on Election Day.

“There’s three weeks of early votes, five hours on Saturday and Sunday,” Richter said. “Vote early.”

It’s recommended residents have their identification cards ready to be checked into the poll. Wharton County residents, regardless of where they live in the county, can vote at any poll.

Voters no longer have the option of casting a straight party ballot. Each race must be voted upon separately.

Contested races, aside from President of the United States and City of El Campo at-large representative, include U.S. senator, U.S. district representative, state senator, state representative, Wharton County Junior College trustee, Louise ISD trustee and Isaacson Municipal Utility District director.

Participating municipal voters will also decide on how the city’s mayor is selected.

A charter amendment on the November 2020 ballot asks voters if the mayor should be the top vote-getter among at-large representatives and the mayor pro tem the second place finisher. If voters approve that amendment, it will go into effect when November’s winners are sworn into office.

In the last at-large election, held in May 2018, not quite 600 votes were cast with four candidates seeking the three posts. In the May 2016 vote, the top vote getter received 315 votes.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

EARLY VOTING:

 

Where: the El Campo Library, 200 W. Church; Wharton County Annex D, Classroom 116, 315 E. Milam in Wharton; and the East Bernard Library.

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekdays and Wednesday, Oct. 28; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30.

The county will offer weekend voting at the annex only from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

How: Voter ID is required.

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