LUBBOCK, TX — With the presidential election now less than a month away, local election workers said compared to this time in 2016, they’ve seen a huge spike in registrations and a 75 percent increase in requests for mail-in ballots, and early voting doesn’t even start until October 13.
On Friday alone, the Lubbock County Elections Office sent out more than 8,500 mail-in ballots. They are still registering voters until 7 p.m. on October 5, the deadline to register to vote in Texas.
Local election workers emphasized that due to COVID-19 safety measures, the voting process will look very different this year, and the ballot will too.
No straight-ticket voting in this election
For this election, straight-ticket voting has been removed as an option at the polls after a court ruling last week. Straight-ticket voting allows voters to select every candidate of a major political party with just one punch.
“Vote early, and give yourself plenty of time. We’re going to ask for patience and grace while we go through this process of voting,” County Judge Curtis Parrish said.
Early voting starts October 13
Officials at the Lubbock County Elections Office encouraged voters to take advantage of early voting, which starts on October 13, and to plan ahead and prepare to spend more time in the booths this year than normal.
Election workers also said they will have “plenty of PPE (personal protective equipment)” for workers and voters who choose to vote in person.
Mail-in voting procedure
For those voting by mail, once you receive and fill out your ballot, all you have to do is mail it back to the Lubbock County Elections Office at 1308 Crickets Avenue.
Or you can bring it back in person, but each person must bring in his or her own ballot, along with a photo ID. Voters cannot bring in ballots for loved ones or anyone except themselves.
You can vote from you car
In addition to voting in person or by mail-in ballot, you can also vote from your car through curbside voting, a new procedure the office said “went well” during its trial run in the July runoffs.
You can bring any materials, sample ballots to the polls
No matter where you vote, you can bring any materials you need with you to help you make your choices, including a sample ballot, which you can download from vote.lubbock.org.
Lubbock not impacted by closure of mail ballot drop-off sites
Judge Parrish said that Lubbock will not be affected by Gov. Abbott’s announcement to close mail-in ballot drop-off sites to one single site countywide. The only place to drop off ballots in Lubbock is the Lubbock County Elections Office.
Election officials emphasize the safety of local elections
County Judge Curtis Parrish said he’s confident in the safety and the “integrity” of this year’s election.
“I think the voters in Lubbock County can know that their election process is very valid. We want to make sure that every vote counts, and so the processes that we have in place will assure that the Lubbock County voters know … if you make the effort to come vote, whether it be through the mail-in ballots or whether you show up in person, that your vote will count,” Parrish said.
Elections Office still needs 100 more poll workers
The Elections Office is still recruiting 100 more poll workers for election day. The deadline to sign up for training courses is Oct. 15. For more information on signing up and the voting process, you can head to vote.lubbock.org.