Just a reminder -- we are in the midst of a pandemic. Cases are spiking in San Marcos. Thirty-six thousand students are expected back at Texas State. The U.S. Post Office tells us they will not beable to handle the volume of mail-in ballots expected in this election. The only other “drop box”for mail-in ballots is the San Marcos Elections Office. There you must go through security, walk tothe end of the building and show your ID to drop off a ballot.
We acknowledge that there are many working to insure the integrity of our election and the safetyof our voters and poll workers. However, this election cycle information around voting has beenchanging on a daily basis. On a local level, people take time to assimilate voting information andmount effective action to represent their concerns. I have three such cases.
Dripping Springs folks have pointed out that there are no early election sites between west of RR 12and the Travis county line. That is a very long stretch of Highway 290 with no polling places.Ninety-two people and counting have requested a site between RR 12 and the Travis line. Theyhave vetted the Hub which is across from a polling site that was dropped. It has some advantagesover the Belterra election-day site. Please read their letter/petition.
I also have a letter from Shannon FitzPatrick, former attorney for students at Texas StateUniversity, in support of adding polling sites at the university. With an expected population of36,000 students plus faculty and staff, the university needs more than one polling place. A pollworker at the university said she worked from 6:30 am until after midnight, non-stop during theMarch primary.
Even with better check-in procedures at Texas State, long lines are likely once again -- a patternthat has been persistent over the last few election cycles. Life-long attitudes about voting are oftenformed around the first voting experiences. Waiting in line for hours is not a good experience.Young, first-time voters need a better experience!
Finally, we need a more efficient and safer way to drop off mail-in ballots. We are up against theElection Code on this. The code allows one drop-off site – the Elections Office in San Marcos. Wehave been told that the Elections Administrator is working on this. We have a petition asking fordrop boxes at polling sites – again not allowed (72 signatures in 2 days). We would ask theCommissioners Court to weigh in as well. We need solutions! Maybe we could have a staffed drive-through at the Elections Office for ballot drop off. That would stir up some good publicity. We needcreative solutions! Thank you for all of your work on this!
Linda M Calvert, PhD, President, League of Women Voters–Hays Coun