Elections Office Details Changes to Ballots By Mail for November 7 ElectionPress Release
SAN ANGELO, TX -- An election will be held November 7th. The ballot will contain 7 proposed constitutional amendments. Sample ballots may be viewed on the Tom Green County election webpage: www.votetomgreencounty.org. Early voting will begin October 23 and end November 3rd. Hours for the first week of early voting are 8 am to 5 pm and the last week 7 am to 7 pm. There will not be voting on the weekend and voting will be conducted at the Election Office, located in the Edd B. and Frances Frink Keyes Building, 113 W. Beauregard.
Ballots by mail have been mailed for this election. The deadline to submit an application for a ballot by mail is October 27th. The application must be in the election office by that date and once early voting has begun, must be mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed to the election office. A new law passed in the 2017 legislative session requires anyone submitting their application by fax or email to submit the hard copy via mail within 4 days. “Faxing or emailing the application allows us to consider the application timely filed when complying with the deadline but will not guarantee a ballot will be mailed unless the hard copy is received,” stated Election Administrator Vona Hudson.
Currently, voters may expect the same Photo ID requirements that have been in place in this year’s previous elections. This law is still in litigation so it may change prior to the election. The current requirements may be reviewed on the Tom Green County election webpage or the Secretary of State’s website: www.sos.state.tx.us.
The deadline to register or update information for this election was October 10th. In recent weeks, the election office mailed 4,500+ address confirmations to voters. Some voters are confused as to whether they need to complete these forms because the letters were mailed to their new, current address. “Voters should be aware that their information was processed through the National Change of Address System as we prepare for our biennial purge of outdated voter registration records as required by law. The fact that the letter was mailed to the correct address does not mean the address on their record is correct because we cannot update the voter’s address without a form signed by them so we encourage anyone that has received an address confirmation to complete and return it to us,” advised Hudson. The change will not be reflected in the November election if it was not received by October 10th.
There was also another law that changed procedures for people that have requested a ballot by mail but are having the ballot mailed to a residential care facility. This law requires the election office to hold any ballots being mailed to one of these facilities until there are a minimum of five requests or it is determined by the deadline, October 27th, that five requests will not be received. If five requests are received, the election office will be required to send election workers to that facility and allow those that have requested ballots by mail to vote at that facility. Anyone that is registered at that facility will also be allowed to vote during the time the election workers are scheduled to be at the “poll” for voting. “We have 16 qualifying residential care facilities and have applications from 7 of them,” stated Hudson. “We will have to go to 2 of those facilities, Elsie Gayer Health Care Center at 902 N. Main and Royal Estates of San Angelo at 6101 Grand Court,” continued Hudson. “And we are considering making a trip to all of the 7 where we have applications. It is a question of training our poll workers and scheduling the trips with the facilities.” Besides the 2 above, other facilities affected include: The Crest at Baptist Retirement Community – Merrill House – 430 E. 8th; Brookdale South San Angelo – 2695 Valleyview; Cedar Manor Nursing and Rehab – 1915 Greenwood St.; Park Plaza – 2210 Howard; and St. Angelus – 15 N. Van Buren. This law was repealed in the special session so the only election that this procedure will be followed is the November 7th election.
“Another change voters will see is a chance to be given voting priority if they have a mobility problem,” Hudson said. “This law was not repealed and at this time will remain in place for future elections. Our plan is to implement this procedure even though the law allows the judge discretion in whether or not to allow voters to move up in line.” To provide this service to voters, the election office is preparing to set up voting equipment for regular voters and for mobility voters as well as have separate check-in opportunities for voters.
The “Mobility Voting” notice reads:
An election officer may give voting order priority to individuals with a mobility problem that substantially impairs the person's ability to move around.
• A person assisting an individual with a mobility problem may also, at the individual's request, be given voting order priority.
• Disabilities and conditions that may qualify you for voting order priority include paralysis, lung disease, the use of portable oxygen, cardiac deficiency, severe limitation in the ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition, wheelchair confinement, arthritis, foot disorder, the inability to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest, or use of a brace, cane, crutch, or other assistive device.
• Voters who wish to be given voting order priority, and be accepted for voting before others in line to vote at that polling place, may indicate this to any election officer serving at the polling place. The presiding election judge will determine whether the voter and the voter’s assistant, if applicable, will be brought forward to the front of the line.
“As you can see, a lot of changes occurred during the legislative sessions this past year. I hope everyone can appreciate that we strive to serve our voters fairly while complying with the laws we have,” said Hudson.
For questions or more information, call the election office at 325-659-6541.