Burnet County to hold public hearing Nov. 24 on voting centers

Burnet County voting centers

Burnet County used so-called voting centers on Election Day, which allowed registered voters to cast a ballot at any polling site, not just the one in their home precinct. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Burnet County Commissioners Court will hold a public hearing on the use of countywide voting centers on Election Day.

The hearing will take place during the Commissioners Court meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the county courthouse, 220 S. Pierce St. in Burnet. The meeting and hearing are open to the public.

The countywide polling place program allowed Burnet County residents to vote in any polling site on Election Day, Nov. 3, rather than requiring them to cast ballots in their voting precinct. This is the first time Burnet County implemented the voting centers. 

The hearing is required for a report to the Texas Secretary of State following a county’s first use of voting centers. The Commissioners Court also will vote for or against a resolution to the Secretary of State requesting a “successful status” of the program, which would allow Burnet County to continue it in future elections. 

“The real benefit of this is convenience to voters, making it easier to vote, and not having to send someone who shows up at the wrong precinct to vote off to find their home precinct, sometimes resulting in the voter not getting to vote at all because it was to late in the day,” explained Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson. “This is also one of the things that I like the most about the program: not having to turn voters away from the wrong precinct.”

He added that the county opted to go with voting centers for the Nov. 3 election because of an expected high voter turnout. 

“It went really well, even though the heavy majority of voters voted early and by mail,” Ferguson said. “Even then, a fourth of all voters on Election Day voted out of their normal home precinct, which is really cool.”

In the Nov. 3 election, Burnet County had 24,925 registered voters cast a ballot with approximately 17,700 voting early and about 3,100 voting by mail. On Election Day, approximately 3,800 voted in person.

“We would definitely love to continue offering the vote center program to our voters,” Ferguson added.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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