Senate Committee Set to Discuss Ending Wildly Popular Countywide Voting Program

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DALLAS – As voters head to the polls today to vote in our primary runoff elections, some state leaders are preparing for a hearing tomorrow at which some legislators will be pushing to end the Countywide Polling Place program (CWPP). 

Republicans, in the platform adopted over the weekend, are calling for an end to the CWPP. Last legislative session, Senator Bob Hall created Senate Bill (SB) 990, to end CWPP, passed out of the state senate and the bill died in the House. Sen. Hall has signaled he plans to introduce the bill again next year. 

The CWPP allows Texans in participating counties to vote at any poll site on Election Day, similar to what is allowed everywhere during Early Voting. This program has been in place for 16 years in Texas and was used by 91 counties in 2022. 

A recent report produced by the Secretary of State concluded: 

“After sixteen years of the countywide polling place program, the program continues to grow and has proven successful for participating counties.”

During early voting for these primary runoff elections, Harris County was unable to open several poll sites due to storm damage, and today Dallas County announced weather-related delays.

In response to this upcoming hearing and poll closures, Common Cause Texas executive director Anthony Gutierrez shared this statement:

“If the countywide polling place program were not in place today, thousands of North Texans who are dealing with power outages and tornado warnings would also be left scrambling trying to figure out where to vote.

“In just the last two weeks, we’ve seen the vital need for the countywide polling place program demonstrated by poll site operations being impacted by severe storms in Dallas and Houston. 

“Just about every Election Day, we see poll sites opening late or not at all for reasons ranging from severe weather or power outages to machines not functioning properly or election workers simply running late. 

“The countywide polling place program has been an unequivocal success for Texans, allowing people the freedom to vote anywhere in their county on Election Day. This convenience has been especially important in those cases where unforeseeable circumstances prevent a poll site from opening on Election Day.”