Marlene Lobberecht, the president of the Cy-Fair chapter of the League of Women Voters, said she has been pleased with voter turnout locally and hopes high participation rates continue through the end of early voting Oct. 30. She said the suburb’s high voter turnout rates could be attributed to the promotion of voter turnout by community organizations and new initiatives introduced by Harris County officials this year.
“I think after 2016, people understand that their vote does matter and they really do count, and Harris County has worked very hard to make it easier to vote,” she said.
Cy-Fair ISD’s Community Leadership Committee along with organizations such as LWV-Cy-Fair promote voter registration and civic engagement throughout the year. CFISD Superintendent Mark Henry has encouraged his staff members to vote and recognizes them on Twitter using the #CFISDvotes hashtag.
Thank you ladies for voting!! https://t.co/9k5NQkpryG
— Mark Henry (@SuptMarkHenry) October 21, 2020
At the county level, election officials have provided individuals who choose to vote by mail the ability to track their ballot status from the time they submit a request to the time their ballot is received, and Lobberecht said this gives voters the confidence that their ballots will be counted.
In-person voters can also visit the Texas secretary of state’s website and see the names of county residents who have cast their ballot by date. Lobberecht said this also contributes to election security because state officials can ensure people only vote once.
“It’s much more transparent than it’s ever been, and I think that’s strongly encouraging,” she said.
More polling locations are also operating during the early-voting period this year to not only increase access, but to also allow for voting machines to be properly distanced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Lobberecht said. For instance, Juergen’s Hall Community Center has fewer voting machines this year, so officials opened another polling location nearby at Saint John Lutheran Church, she said.
Before heading to the polls, county residents also have the option to see estimated wait times at www.harrisvotes.com. Two local sites, Prairie View A&M University Northwest and Juergen’s Hall Community Center, will be open 24 hours Oct. 29, according to Harris County.
Lobberecht said steps such as these make the voting process easier and more accessible than past elections, but residents should be prepared for final election results to be delayed this year due to high numbers of absentee and mail-in voting.
While many voters are eager to cast their votes in the presidential election, Lobberecht said races such as for county commissioners and municipal utility district officials affect local residents’ daily lives, so she encourages people to “vote all the way down the ballot.”
“Democracy is not a spectator sport. In order to have a democracy, you must participate,” she said. "And the only way you can strongly participate is by voting, and it does make a difference.”