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AUSTIN -- A new report out today by the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) Education Fund surveyed county clerks and election administrators to understand how they are preparing for the primary runoff during a pandemic. The group surveyed and researched more than 46 counties, sending out a survey, conducting interviews, and researching websites to determine what steps are being taken to make our elections safer and what still needs to be done.
The findings show that counties are working hard to prepare for the potential dangers of voting in person during COVID-19, but that they still have a ways to go to be ready for November, and many are worried about how the election will go under these unprecedented circumstances.
“We’ve seen the detrimental effects of being unprepared for an election, that’s why we’re so pleased to see so much preparation going into this year’s election,” said Lauren Banister, TexPIRG Ed Fund Associate. “Counties are crushing it, but we’ve got more work to do letting people know how to vote safely and making sure there are enough poll workers to keep polling locations open.”
The report found:
- 46% of counties are struggling to staff their polling locations for the entirety of early voting and election day
- All counties are implementing some version of health, safety and social distancing protocol
- 50% of counties are buying additional materials or hiring additional staff because of an increase in vote by mail requests.
- 34% of county election departments have health and safety protocols and voting options listed on their website
- 33% said funding became more difficult with the extension of the early voting period
The report recommends counties follow the best practices highlighted in the report and the state government take on a larger responsibility in funding and preparing for the November general election.
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