Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

County plans to allow voters to go to any box on Election Day

A common complaint about voting may be gone if Orange County Commissioners Court approves a new plan to allow countywide Election Day voting. The plan, though, could eliminate the number of voting boxes by nearly one-third.

Commissioners Court will have a public hearing about the proposal on Tuesday, December 13, at 1 p.m. in the Courthouse Administration Building. Any member of the public may give their opinions on the planned changes.

Currently, and for more than a century, county voters had to go to a specific voting box precinct to cast a ballot on Election Day. The county currently has 34 individual neighborhood voting box precincts.

Often, at least one or more box is moved each year o r every two years because of different circumstances like a school closing or a church not wanting elections to be held there any longer. A voter may go on Election Day to vote at a church where they had previously voted for years, only to find the box had been moved to a public office or school.

The frustrated voter will then have to travel to the site of the new box, decide not to vote, or cast a provisional ballot that would not be counted because it was made at the wrong box.

County Elections Administrator Donna Alford said the countywide voting plan would allow any registered Orange County voter to cast a ballot on Election Day at any voter box.

The county has been allowing countywide voting during the early voting periods two weeks before an election. The county usually has four early voting sites with one early box in each of the four county commissioner precincts. Any registered county voter may go to one of those early sites. But then on Election Day, voters must go to their assigned box.

"Our main goal is to make things more convenient for the voters of Orange County," Alford said about the proposal for countywide Election Day Voting.

Also with countywide voting, the county will be allowed to cut back on the number of neighborhood voting boxes. Alford said Orange County would be able to eliminate up to 11 of its current 34 boxes.

The county could save money on eliminating the number of boxes because of not paying as many election judges and not paying expenses like maintenance crews to open and close buildings used for voting.


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