CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Through the first few days of early voting, nearly 13% of registered voters in Nueces County have cast their vote.
However, some common questions are popping up during the early voting period that KRIS 6 News political analyst Dr. David Smith and Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands have answers to.
Where and when can I vote?
There are 25 early voting locations across Nueces County. All are open Monday to Saturday, with the exception of the Nueces County Courthouse, which is also open on Sunday.
Ballots can be cast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. On Saturday, Oct. 17 and 24, locations will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All early voting locations will shift to a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule the week of Oct. 26-30. On Sunday, Oct. 18, courthouse hours are noon to 5 p.m.
Locations and voting times can be found on the Nueces County website.
I don’t want to wait in a long line, how will I know how long lines are.
Real-time line lengths are not available, however, the Nueces County Elections Department will release daily voting numbers, indicating which sites are the most popular. Additionally, the Nueces County Clerk Office will periodically provide information on sites with shorter lines through its Facebook page.
What is a good time to go to vote?
Dr. Smith: "I think we can always hope that the earlier you get there, like when the polls first open, that's the best time to go. Or, you can stagger, if you work that 8-to-5 job, you can stagger your lunch a little bit to when other people might not be able to go. If you're getting off work at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, if you're on the way home and can stop, that's the time when you see a lot of foot traffic. You can also look at on the weekends, but that's probably going to be a high traffic time because a lot of people have that free time on Saturday.”
I am elderly, disabled, or sick and cannot stand in line, is there an alternative way to vote?
Yes. Curbside voting is available for voters who are physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance, or voters who are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Call 361-888-0303 to alert the election judge of your desire to vote curbside. Curbside voting does not allow voters to cut the line.
I requested a mail-in ballot, but I want to vote in-person instead, can I do that?
Sands: “If you are going to go cancel your mail-in ballot, you can do that and vote regular, but take your ballot with you to surrender your ballot.”
If you don’t have your ballot or lost it, you can vote provisionally. You can also cancel your mail-in ballot at the Nueces County Clerk office, which allows you to vote in person.
What identification do I need to bring with me?
There are seven acceptable forms of photo ID in the state of Texas. If you do not have one of the forms, there are alternative options.
Can I wear a shirt/hat/button/etc? to support my favorite candidate when I go to vote?
No. Even wearing something supporting a political party can be seen as electioneering. Wear neutral clothing when you go to vote.
Sands: "No t-shirts, masks, buttons, no campaign or political shirts inside the polling place when you vote.”
Dr. Smith: "You should not wear school district or school clothing as well, because there is a bond issue on there for the school district, that can be seen as electioneering.”
With more mail-in ballots cast, will there be more counts of voter fraud?
Dr. Smith: “Looking over the Attorney General's website in Texas, and reading numerous articles and opinions from a variety of news sources, there's not really any issues. We know there have been some instances in the past, but for the most part, mail-in ballots and absentee ballots are secured, it's one of the most unlikely ways for someone to commit voter fraud. You can go on to the Attorney General's website actually look to see how many instances there are of voter fraud with mailing ballots. Realistically, I think there are maybe three instances in about 20 years. The majority of issues have been ineligible voters or people who are trying to impersonate somebody at the polls themselves.”
Should I be concerned with the United States Postal Service delivering my mail-in ballot?
Dr. Smith: “For the most part, the postal service is fantastic. You always have those one or two that we hear about throughout the years where the postal worker is found with bags of unopened mail or undelivered mail, but I think that's more the anomaly than the norm. I would not be concerned at all when it comes to the postal service. They are going to deliver the mail, they're going to be fantastic, especially with these ballots. It's such an issue right now, we're seeing it talked about in the U.S. Congress, the Postmaster-General, we hear the reports of the postal service saying we're going to deliver these ballots as quickly and as accurately as we can. So, I don't think that's going to be an issue.”
I have a mail-in ballot, can I hand-deliver it somewhere?
Yes. The only place in Nueces County to hand-deliver mail-in ballots is the Nueces County Clerk’s Office and the County Courthouse.
How do I know what races I should vote for, and who is running?
vote411.org allows you to enter your address, and it provides you with all the races you vote for, as well as the candidates running.
Dr. Smith: “No matter how you vote, the last thing you should do on your ballot is verify and check that all of those races that you participated in, make sure it's the exact way you want it to be submitted.”