Harris County Election Day: Turnout surpasses 200,000 as the end of Election Day voting nears

Lines were short around mid-afternoon at Cy-Fair ISD's Hamilton Middle School, one of 800 polling locations open to voters on Election Day in Harris County. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lines were short around mid-afternoon at Cy-Fair ISD's Hamilton Middle School, one of 800 polling locations open to voters on Election Day in Harris County. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lines were short around mid-afternoon at Cy-Fair ISD's Hamilton Middle School, one of 800 polling locations open to voters on Election Day in Harris County. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)

Voter guide: Find local ballot information at communityimpact.com/vote

Update at 6:50

As the closure of polls nears in Harris County, officials with the county clerks office reported that more than 200,000 ballots have now been cast on Election Day.

Most polling locations did not have major lines as of 6:45 p.m., though a line of around 50 people was reported at the Lone Star College Victory Center on Victory Drive in the northwest Houston area.

Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins said he expects early voting results—roughly 1.4 million votes—to be released shortly after polls close.


Update at 4:50 p.m.

A U.S. District Judge in Washington D.C. ordered the U.S. Postal Service to send postal inspectors to processing facilities in 12 postal districts across the country—including in Houston—to "sweep the facilities" for any mail ballots that may have been lost and immediately send those ballots to election officials.

The order required USPS to file a status update to confirm the sweeps had taken place by no later than 3:30 p.m. Other affected regions include central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Colorado/Wyoming, Atlanta, Alabama, northern New England, Greater South Carolina, south Florida, Lakeland and Arizona.

The Houston USPS district covers multiple counties in southeast Texas, including Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. In Harris County, an estimated 170,410 mail ballots were received by the county at the end of early voting. The county sent 250,434 mail ballots to eligible voters in total.

To be a counted, a mail ballot must be received by the Harris County Clerk's Office by 5 p.m. Nov. 4, the day after the election, but must be postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Update at 2:15 p.m.

Lines remained short across polling locations in Harris County as of 1:30 p.m., according to a tracking system being used by the Harris County Clerk's Office, with most locations reporting wait times of 5 minutes or less and all locations falling within the 0-24 minute range.

More than 119,000 Election Day votes had been cast in Harris County as of 2 p.m., according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

There were no lines at several north Harris County polling locations as of mid-afternoon, including Cy-Fair ISD's Hamilton Middle School, Klein ISD's Ulrich Intermediate School and the Cy-Fair ISD Annex, all pictured below.



Update at 11:40 a.m.

Harris County is seeing about 25,000 votes per hour coming in across its 800 polling locations, County Clerk Christopher Hollins said in a press conference given with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at 11 a.m. outside of the Acres Homes neighborhood in Houston.

At the start of Election Day, about 1 million registered voters in Harris County still had not voted, Hollins said.

There were few to no lines at polling places across the county as of 11 a.m., Hollins said.

"We’re going to get to the end of the day, and I think there probably will be some lines," he said. "So I want to tell folk: get there by 7 p.m., and get in line and don’t get out of line. As long as you get in line before 7 p.m., you have the right to vote."

Polls close at 7 p.m., and Hollins said he expects early voting results, including mail ballots, to be released around that time. Election Day results will be published over the course of the night as they are counted, he said.

"We will not have an election week here in Harris County," Hollins said. "We will have an election night."

Update at 11:05 a.m.

Heading into the lunch hours, most voting centers were still reporting no lines and no wait times, and 75,000 ballots had been cast.

NRG Arena reported having about 100 voters in line and a wait time of 25 minutes at 10:50 a.m.

In the first two hours of polling, about 47,000 ballots had been cast, according to the Harris County Clerk's Office. By 11 a.m., that number was at 75,000.

Update at 9 a.m.

The Harris County Clerk's Office reported that over 21,000 people cast ballots in the first hour of Election Day voting.

With about 1.4 million early ballots cast and 2.5 million total registered voters in the county, a million potential voters have yet to participate.

With 800 voting locations across the county, there are more than a few unique locals, including a precinct judge's garage and Buddy's, a gay bar in Montrose.

Find the nearest voting locations and wait times at www.harrisvotes.com/locations.

Update at 7:55 a.m.

There were virtually no lines and no wait times reported across the county's 800 voting centers as the first hour of Election Day voting got underway.

The Hampton Inn Galleria, Lone Star College Cypress Center and HCC Alief Center locations were among the few reporting lines of about 50 voters and wait times of about 25 minutes.

The Katy Branch Harris County Public Library and Harris County Public Library Kingwood Branch reported a line of 100 and a one-hour wait.

Find the nearest voting locations and wait times at www.harrisvotes.com/locations.

Update at 7 am:

Hours before polls opened Nov. 3, Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins announced the county would limit drive-thru voting to one location: Toyota Center.

The decision came after a federal district court judge rejected a lawsuit Nov. 2 seeking to have nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru voting locations in Harris County thrown out. In the court's guidance, however, it suggested that the county's temporary tents that were set up for voting did not meet the legal definition for a "structure" that is required to house a voting location.



A federal appeals court upheld the court ruling late Monday night.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

ExxonMobil moved employees from its Springwoods Village campus to a Hughes Landing to cure a default on a Montgomery County tax abatement. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil resolves tax abatement default; Home Depot distribution center taking over superfund site; and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Rumi's Place will open on Post Oak Boulevard in fall 2022, specializing in Persian food with a contemporary twist. (Courtesy Zadok family)
Persian restaurant Rumi's Place announced for Post Oak mixed-use development in Uptown

The eatery will occupy the last available restaurant space at the newly opened Post Oak Place, alongside Uchiko.

I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop will be closed May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
TxDOT: I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop closed through weekend

From May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m., the lanes will be closed.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.

HTV
Houston, Harris County annual addresses no longer hosted by Greater Houston Partnership over Texas voter bill dispute

Local leaders criticized the area chamber of commerce for not taking a definitive stance on two voting access bills currently being deliberated in the Texas Legislature.

The new location is Chipotle's first in Magnolia. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle opens in Magnolia; get a sneak peek of new Houston aquarium and more metro news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Original ChopShop is targeting an early September opening in River Oaks, one of the first two locations of the chain coming to Houston. (Courtesy Facebook)
ROUNDUP: 5 summer openings planned in Heights, River Oaks and Montrose areas

A crafthouse, a massage therapy spa and a corner store that doubles as a Mediterranean cafe are among the new businesses that hope to open this summer.

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member. (Courtesy Fire Smart, LLC)
Fire Smart, LLC celebrates one year of providing fire safety education across Greater Houston area

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member.