What Travis County voters should know ahead of early voting opening June 29

Voters line up at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex on primary election day March 3. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Voters line up at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex on primary election day March 3. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Voters line up at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex on primary election day March 3. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Travis County clerk is encouraging residents to come to the polls early in order to avoid long lines ahead of the July 14 elections.

Early voting begins June 29 across the state. Gov. Greg Abbott extended the early voting period and and pushed back the election date as precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Polling locations


There are 20 early voting locations located throughout the county, including 14 in Austin. They will be open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. On July 3 and July 4, voting will be closed in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. A map of voting sites from the Travis County Clerk can be found below.


Who’s on the ballot


If no candidate for an elected office received more than 50% of the vote in the March 3 primary election, the top two vote-getters advanced to the July 14 runoff.

In addition to the primary runoffs, a special election to fill the vacant seat of former state Sen. Kirk Watson’s District 14 seat will be held. Six candidates will appear on the ballot to serve the remainder of the term through 2022.

In the U.S. senator Democratic runoff race, Royce West and MJ Hegar are running for the right to face incumbent Sen. John Cornyn in November. The race for another federal seat, U.S. House District 17, is contested on both sides. Pete Sessions and Reneé Swann are competing for the Republican nomination while Rick Kennedy and David Anthony Jaramillo face off on the Democratic side to represent the district that includes parts of northern Travis County.

Countywide Democratic primary runoff races include district attorney, where José Garza faces incumbent Margaret Moore, and county attorney, where Laurie Eiserloh and Delia Garza are vying to replace the retiring David Escamila.


A full sample ballot can be found at the Travis County Clerk's website.

Safety measures


The clerk’s office is recommending face masks for all voters. In addition, voters are encouraged to keep 6 feet of distance, bring their own pen, and wash or sanitize their hands upon entry and exit of the polling location.

In addition, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe signed orders June 18 that mandate all commercial businesses require visitors to the premises wear face coverings—the order is in effect through Aug. 15. Most early voting sites are in public buildings such as schools, libraries and recreation centers. The lone exception is the Southpark Meadows site, which is located in a shopping mall in South Austin.



Mail-in ballots


Voters who are 65 years or older, disabled, out of the country, or confined to jail but otherwise eligible to vote may apply for a ballot by mail. In May, the Texas Supreme Court ruled those requirements should stay in place—siding with the state attorney general in a legal battle over whether mail-in ballots should be expanded to more Texans in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of June 22, the Travis County clerk said it has received more than 28,000 ballot by mail applications—a volume that nearly equaled the 2016 presidential election and is approaching the record of 31,000 requests.

Voters can still send applications to the county for a ballot by mail if they qualify. For the July 14 election, all requests must be received by July 2.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


MOST RECENT

The Office of Police Oversight released its first comprehensive report detailing its operations though 2019 and 2020 this June. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Office of Police Oversight report finds complaints against Austin police officers went up, but discipline fell in 2020

The new report centers on the office's three main functions, including tracking APD officer discipline, reviewing the city's police policies, and engaging with Austin residents.

Volunteers of Austin Vaccine Angels gathered after becoming fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Jodi Holzband)
Grassroots groups aimed at vaccine outreach look toward the future

For the past five months, grassroots volunteer groups have been working to connect thousands of Central Texans to COVID-19 vaccines.

A 10-week construction project on North Pleasant Valley Road begins June 21. (Courtesy Fotolia)
North Pleasant Valley Road construction project in East Austin begins June 21

The project, funded by a 2018 Bond, will cause some lane closures

Washington Prime Group Inc. owns six area shopping centers, including The Arboretum. (Courtesy The Arboretum)
Owner of Austin-area shopping centers files for bankruptcy; entertainment complex coming to Cedar Park and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a woman and girl walking the trail with the Austin skyline behind them
Travis County commits to electrify fleet, doubles down on climate goals

Commissioners directed staff this week to develop a plan to fully electrify Travis County's fleet of vehicles, a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions for the county.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The downtown Austin tower is 57% leased as of mid-June. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Downtown Austin's Indeed Tower sells to California real estate and development company in $580M deal

The newly-completed 36-story tower sold to Kilroy Realty Corp. for $580 million.

Austin's downtown Palm District is home to several modern and historic landmarks, including the Palm School building now home to Travis County offices. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents lay out priorities for new Palm District area plan with project's engagement period underway

Through the planning process, feedback from Austin community members will contribute to the drafting of a Palm District Small Area Plan to be finalized and adopted by city officials next year.

Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Project Connect Orange Line design reveals proposed locations for rail stations in North, South Austin

The latest Orange Line design shows potential elevated rail line over I-35, as well as options for the Drag.

Photo of a weird home
Austin's Weird Homes Tour says goodbye—for now

The tour's founders say they are open to a new local operator taking over the event.

The former hotel off I-35 had most recently been used as a COVID-19 homeless Protection Lodge. (Courtesy City of Austin)
East Cesar Chavez encampment residents move into former South Austin hotel

Through Austin's HEAL initiative, residents of an encampment near East Austin's Terrazas Branch Libarary were relocated to a South Austin shelter before that camp is cleared away.

The regional blood bank appealed for further donations in the wake of the June 12 shooting in downtown Austin. (Courtesy We Are Blood)
We Are Blood appeals for blood donations following weekend shooting in downtown Austin

The Central Texas nonprofit also said its blood supply remains depleted due to decreased donations through the COVID-19 pandemic.