A U.S. District Judge in Washington D.C. ordered the U.S. Postal Service to send postal inspectors to 27 processing facilities 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 Montgomery County, an estimated 22,963 absentee ballots were received by the county at the end of early voting.
Update at 2 p.m.
Area organizations such as the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce encouraged residents to go to the polls today on social media.
Every election is determined by the people who show up. - Larry J. Sabato // GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY! YOUR VOICE MATTERS! pic.twitter.com/le9FCHEfU3
— Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber (@ConroeChamber) November 3, 2020
Some local school districts, including Conroe ISD, were closed today because school buildings were used as polling places.
Tomorrow is Election Day! Since many of our campuses are used as polling sites, Tuesday, November 3rd is also a student holiday. Polling locations are open from 7 AM - 7 PM. Please visit https://t.co/ZUeLqwE4Aw for more information. pic.twitter.com/Vc3bmQO5aF
— Conroe ISD (@ConroeISD) November 2, 2020
Meanwhile, some schools, such as Lamar Elementary School, held a mock election this week to teach students about the process.
— Lamar Elementary, Conroe ISD (@LamarElemCISD) November 2, 2020
Update at 11 a.m.
More votes were cast early in Montgomery County through October than in any previous presidential election in the county—including both early voting and Election Day, according to records from both the county elections administration and Secretary of State’s office.
A total of 237,186 ballots were cast through Montgomery County’s record-setting early voting period, which concluded Oct. 30.
The county’s prior early voting and total turnout records were both set in 2016, when 208,308 total votes were tallied including 156,818 through early voting, according to the county’s election canvass report.
The turnout rate among the county’s 369,796 registered voters also reached its highest-ever level through a presidential election early voting period this year, with 64.14% turnout among registered voters through Day 17.
The previous high for early voting turnout percentage had also been set in 2016, when just over 50% of registered county voters had cast ballots through Day 12 of early voting.
Through the extended 17-day window, 214,223 county residents voted in person and 22,963 cast ballots by mail.
Update at 10 a.m.
According to Suzie Harvey, Montgomery County Elections Administrator, voters taking part in the election in Montgomery County must vote at the polling place for the precinct where they are registered.
"Some polling places have changed, so voters should check our website or call our office to avoid arriving at an incorrect location," Harvey said.
Harvey noted there will be several factors that may lead to longer voting times than previous elections, including the elimination of straight party voting and elections for local political subdivisions.
Montgomery County voters are encouraged to visit the election office's website for information on where their polling place will be.
Harvey added that "clothing, hats, etc. that support or oppose any candidate, current or past, party or measure are prohibited in the polling place and within 100 feet of the door." Cell phones are also prohibited within 100 feet of voting booths and cannot be referenced while voting.
All voters in line by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.
Update at 7:10 a.m.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. on Nov. 3, and Montgomery County voters will decide on a range of local elections for state, county and local seats as well as major national races. Local elections include three contested seats on The Woodlands Township board of directors and two on the Conroe ISD board of trustees as well as the first district judge for the newly formed Montgomery County 457th judicial district court.
WHERE TO VOTE
Voters in Montgomery County can cast their ballots only in the precinct where they are registered to vote on Election Day. The county's precinct map for the Nov. 3 general election may be viewed here, and a complete list of the county's 100 polling locations and elections held in each precinct may be viewed here.
Eligible Harris County residents may vote at any of the county's hundreds of polling places Nov. 3. An interactive map of the county's polling places with live, estimated wait times may be viewed here, and a list of the county's Election Day polling locations may be viewed here.
More information about voting in Montgomery County can be found on the Montgomery County Elections Administration website or by calling 936-539-7843. More information about voting in Harris County may be found on the Harris County Clerk's Office Election Division website or by calling 713-755-6965.
Community Impact Newspaper reporters conducted Q&As with local candidates earlier in the campaign season. A full list of candidates can be found here.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day. Voters in line at 7 p.m. will be able to cast their ballot. Visit communityimpact.com/voter-guide/election-results to see results from all local elections in your community.
As of Oct. 30, Montgomery County's record early voting numbers reached a total of 237,186 ballots cast through Day 17 of this year's 17-day early voting window. The total includes absentee ballots received as of that time.
Editor's note: The early voting total was updated to reflect the total through Oct. 30. The previous total listed was through Oct. 29.