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County sets special election voting schedule

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The Bastrop County Commissioners Court finalized the early voting schedule for the July 14 primary runoff and special election during a special meeting on Monday.

The Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections, as well as a special election for Texas Senate District 14 to replace resigning Senator Kirk Watson, were postponed to July 14 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the previous meeting on May 11, county elections administrator Kristin Miles presented an early voting schedule, which would be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday, July 6 to Friday, July 10 at all four polling locations in Bastrop, Elgin, Smithville and Cedar Creek. However, that evening, Abbott issued a proclamation to expand early voting to begin the previous week, Miles said

As a result, Miles presented a revised early voting schedule to the court on Monday, which would open early voting at each polling location from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 29 through Thursday, July 3. Early voting would not be available on July 3, a state holiday, or on July 4, a federal holiday.

Bastrop County Republican Party chair Dianna Greenwood submitted a written public comment to the court, and Bastrop County Democratic Party chair Steve Chamberlain made a public comment to the court during the online meeting.

Greenwood said her party fully supports the election administrator’s proposed schedule as presented at the previous meeting; however, she shared concerns that more hours would lead to an increased cost to taxpayers and could potentially increase the likelihood of exposure of at-risk poll workers to the virus. As a result, instead of keeping all four poll locations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the second week, she suggested that only Bastrop’s location be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the other poll locations should be open only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chamberlain said his party would rather see all polling locations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, but they know that would not be possible or the best option; as a result, he supports the revised schedule presented this week as a compromise. He also said keeping all locations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. would help workers commuting out of the county vote more easily.

After listening to these comments, the court voted to approve the revised early voting schedule presented that morning.

Bastrop County voters can cast their ballots at any of the following poll locations during early voting: the Bastrop County Courthouse annex in Bastrop, Smithville City Hall, Cedar Creek United Methodist Church or the Elgin Public Library. To find your Election Day polling location, visit www.bastropvotes.org. Voting is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, which is Tuesday, July 14.