EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Early voting in El Paso is just two weeks away. While some El Pasoans will vote by mail, others need to know what to expect for in-person voting.
Staff with the El Paso County Elections Department said voting in-person will be a bit different this year; however, the department will ensure voter’s safety inside or outside of polling locations.
Based off the department’s presentation to City Council on Tuesday, those voting in-person are expected to be social distancing, wearing masks, will receive a “Vote Safe El Paso” kit, and see a clean team.
One new option for voters looking to turn in mail-in ballots at the County Courthouse is express curbside voting.
“It’s on the east side on Campbell street. You don’t even have to get out of your car. You can just drive up and we have a team down there that will take your ballot to the ballot box. You’ll show an I.D., fill out the log, and you can be on your way,” Lisa Wise, Administrator with El Paso County Elections Department said.
The El Paso County Elections Department describes express curbside as drive-through voting. Poll workers will be outside with the supplies needed to process as voters drive through. At the sites which are not express, a voter can call the department’s office and poll workers will be alerted that someone will be voting curbside, however the process will not be as expedited as the poll worker will be getting the information and returning inside for the supplies. The department is encouraging those voters who want to vote curbside to use one of the seven express curbside locations for convenience.
The voting locations offering express curbside with additional staff include: Arlington Park, Bassett Place, El Paso County Coliseum, Marty Robbins Rec. Center, Officer David Ortiz Rec. Center, Oz Glaze Senior Center, and Sunland Park Mall.
As for early voting and election day, voters who may be physically unable to enter the polling site without personal assistance or injuring the voter’s health may request curbside voting.
“Voters are not required to request curbside however we do recommend calling our office if a voter intends to vote curbside at one of the locations which is not considered “express” so that we can get their information to the Judge prior to them arriving and cut down on their voting times,” Wise said in a statement.
So how will the process function and look like for voters choosing curbside?
“Express curbside voters will see the signage and canopies at the sites. There will be a crew outside with the supplies on a cart ready for the voter. The voter will be given the Vote Safe El Paso Kit with the disposable stylus, finger cot, hand wipes and “I Voted Sticker” similar to what the voters inside are receiving. The voter will sign in on the poll pad as usual and then use the touchscreen to cast their vote. Voters will not use the Ballot Marking Device with curbside. We’re hoping that this process will alleviate some of the wait times as these 7 locations basically have two polling sites at each location. Anyone who feels that entering their polling site is putting themselves at risk, can vote curbside. The ballots on the screen will be the same but with the curbside but there will not be a printed ballot to cast as there is not a printer for the curbside machines,” Wise explained.
All voting locations will offer curbside voting during early voting.
The County Elections Department said express curbside voting will also be available at the same sites on election day as early voting.
As thousands of El Pasoans have ordered mail-in ballots, others who are still debating whether to vote by mail or in-person are being urged to act fast.
“That’s one of the things that we’re really pushing to people is do not wait until the last minute,” Wise said, “All of this information is available on our website and I know it’s a lot because things are changing daily but we would encourage people to look at our website, get as much information, and develop a voting plan on how they’re going to vote, where, when they’re going to vote, and not wait until the last minute.”
Early voting will run through October 13 – October 30 and Election Day is November 3rd.
For more information on voting in-person or curbside, click here.