The county is responsible for selecting, funding and conducting elections at early voting sites during the primaries, county Elections Administrator Chris Davis said. The Democratic and Republican parties are responsible for Election Day polling locations, he said.
The county will host 18 early voting sites, including five in Georgetown and four in Round Rock. There was some discussion among commissioners on the need for Georgetown—a city with a smaller population than Round Rock—to have the most voting sites.
County Judge Bill Gravell said Georgetown tends to have a higher turnout and thus needs more locations. Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook, who represents portions of Round Rock, argued there is most likely a higher turnout because the polls are closer and more accessible to voters.
The agenda item passed 4-1 with Cook against the proposed locations.
House Bill 1888 was passed during the 86th legislative session, no longer allowing temporary or mobile early voting sites.
Williamson County previously used mobile voting frequently in order to reach more rural parts of the county, such as Weir and Granger, Davis said. Because of the new law, the county has to establish permanent sites at the cost of about $15,000-$20,000 per site, Davis said.
Costs include keeping the locations open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. each day of early voting except Sunday from 1-6 p.m., Davis said. Davis added with an anticipated higher turnout from a presidential year, as well as new machines, each location will likely need more workers.
Davis said with the new law, the county will have the most permanent early voting sites it has ever had.
The court voted on 17 of the 18 locations with directions to move the presented Walburg location to Jarrell for better reach. The Williamson County Elections Department will establish and present the 18th location at a future meeting.
Early voting for primaries runs Feb. 18-28. Primary day is March 3. Election Day is Nov. 3.
The 17 established locations are:
- Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Parkway, Austin
- Baca Senior Center, 301 W. Bagdad Ave., Round Rock
- Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Drive, Round Rock
- Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park
- Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Road, Cedar Park
- Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Spring Way, Georgetown
- Georgetown Parks and Recreation Administration Building, 1101 N. College St., Georgetown
- Georgetown Randalls, 5721 Williams Drive, Georgetown
- Georgetown Technology and Nutrition Building, 603 Lakeway Drive, Georgetown
- Hutto City Hall, 500 W. Live Oak St., Hutto
- Liberty Hill Municipal Court, 2801 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
- Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy St., Leander
- RE Hartfield Performing Arts Center, 4800 McNeil Drive, Austin
- Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Road, Round Rock
- Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St., Taylor
- Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown
- Williamson County Jester Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock