Harris County voters will now be able to cast their ballot at any of the 700 polling locations countywide, both during early voting and on election day, beginning with the May 4 joint election, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced in a news release.

According to the release, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley approved Harris County’s application to participate in the countywide polling place program March 7. Prior to this approval, while voters in Harris County could vote at any polling location countywide during early voting, they are restricted to their assigned voting precinct’s polling location on election day.

“The voters of Harris County have made it clear that a countywide polling place program would have a positive impact on elections and I am confident that the transition to a countywide polling place program will be successful,” Trautman said in a statement.

The program had been previously discussed at Harris County Commissioners Court meetings and at seven community meetings held throughout Harris County in January and February, garnering both positive and negative feedback from Harris County residents. The court voted to proceed with the application process at its Feb. 12 meeting.

“The countywide polling place program will allow more Houstonians to exercise their most precious right, the right to vote,” Trautman said in a statement.

Teneshia Hudspeth with Harris County's Voter Outreach Department told Community Impact Newspaper that the program will not need to return to Harris County Commissioners Court again prior to implementation and will be in place for the May 4 joint election.

With more than 2 million registered voters, Harris County is now the largest county in the U.S. to implement the countywide polling place program. Prior to this approval, 52 other Texas counties also participate in the program.

For more information about the countywide polling place program, call 713-755-6965 or visit www.harrisvotes.com.