Austin County is seeking the public’s opinion on countywide polling places. The Countywide Polling Place Program (aka Voting Centers), enables any registered voter in the county to vote at any Vote Center polling place on Election Day. Previously, a voter had to go to one certain location based on registration address, but the new program allows voters the convenience to vote at locations near their work, commuter route or home.
Austin County formally applied with the Secretary of State’s office in January 2022. The requirements for the program were the formation of an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the county’s voting districts; a computerized voter registration list that allows a poll worker to verify a voter that has not previously voted in the election. Austin County will join 84 counties across the state who currently participate in the Countywide Polling Place Program.
The county formally posted notice on May 2, 2022. Here is the text of the notice:
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING
SECRETARY OF STATE ADDING AUSTIN COUNTY TO THE
COUNTYWIDE POLLING PLACE PROGRAM
Notice is given that AUSTIN COUNTY has been added to the TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE COUNTYWIDE POLLING PLACE PROGRAM. Being added to the STATE COUNTYWIDE POLLING PLACE PROGRAM gives Austin County, Texas the ability to allow citizens to vote at any county polling location throughout the county, not limiting citizens to vote only in their assigned voting precinct.
AUSTIN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT APPROVED THE INTENT ON December 27, 2021. Part of the application process included a public hearing to notify citizens of submitting the application which was held January 10, 2022. In addition, a public hearing will be held May 09, 2022 to notify residents of the intent to provide Countywide Polling Locations.
The required hearing is to inform the public and solicit opinions from voters, minority organizations, and other interested parties about Vote Centers and the use of ballot marking devices that are printed and scanned at the polling place, and the implementation of a computerized voter registration list that allows instantaneous verification that a voter has not already voted at another polling place, will be conducted by the Court on May 09, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. in the courtroom of the Austin County Court located in the Austin County Courthouse, One East Main, Bellville, Texas 77418.
Additional information on the program can be obtained by going to the Texas Secretary of State’s FAQ.