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Voting & Elections 03.20.2020

How Will Texas Conduct Elections in the Wake of the Coronavirus?

According to Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of the voting watchdog group Common Cause Texas, mail-in voting is just one issue local election administrators must take into account when preparing for elections during a pandemic. Ensuring voting machines are safe to touch, that cleaning supplies won’t damage machines or ballots, finding alternatives if elderly poll workers can’t come to work—“you can’t do that overnight,” Gutierrez said. “The problem with all of these emergency election measures is that none of them are turn-key. All of them are going to take some amount of time to implement. It’s all doable, but it requires that people are doing things now to plan for that.”

Voting & Elections 03.20.2020

Civil Rights Groups Push Texas To Expand Absentee Voting In Face of COVID-19

"I'm worried that election workers are simply not going to show up," Gutierrez said, "because the vast majority of people who are working at our poll sites right now in Texas, and everywhere in America for that matter, they tend to be older Americans. They fall into that pool of people who are most at risk during this pandemic. Obviously if election workers don't show up, poll sites don't open. There's nobody to operate the machines and check in voters."

Voting & Elections 03.14.2020

Bill Whitaker: Criticism of McLennan County vote centers neglects many variables, advantages

“If a poll site has a long line, and there are shorter lines at a nearby site, that is information our volunteer poll monitors will now be trained to provide to people as they arrive, before the voter gets in line,” Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, said after meeting with Harris County election officials. “We’ll also be running a public awareness campaign leading up to the election encouraging Texans to vote early or, if they are eligible, by mail. We’ll also be encouraging people to fill out sample ballots before heading to the polls to minimize the increase in wait times we are expecting to come as a result of Texans no longer having the option of straight-ticket voting.”

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