early voting

San Marcos voters wait in line to vote in the general election, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, at Live Oak Health Partners.

With four days of early voting remaining, voter totals in Hays County surpassed the county’s total 2016 voter turnout.

According to Hays County's website, as of Oct. 26, there are 67,724 total in-person voter check-ins and 11,226 total mail ballots returned, totaling 78,950 votes in the county. The total Hays voter turnout in 2016 was 73,589.

In 2016, Hays County reported 116,501 total registered voters. According to the county's website, there are 133,905 active registered voters and 18,769 suspense voters for the 2020 general election.

Hays County's Elections Office was not immediately available for comment.

The county defines "suspense" voters as registrants who have had their voter certificate or other mail returned to a county office. A suspense voter is still eligible to vote if the individual fills out a statement of residency declaring she, he or they continues to reside in Hays County.

On Texas State's campus, the Performing Arts Center reported 328 voters on Oct. 26, bringing the total number of campus early voters to 5,151 and total provisional ballots cast to 203.

Provisional ballots are ballots cast when a voter's eligibility is in question, such as when a voter has an incorrect address due to moving near the voter registration deadline. If these ballots are later considered ineligible, they will not be counted.

Taylor Butler, a 26-year-old San Marcos resident, says he was dedicated to casting his vote despite complications with registration. Butler lives in San Marcos, but recently moved from Bastrop and needed to change his legal address before being able to vote in Hays County.

“I have voted in every election I have been able to since I turned 18,” Butler said. “I only recently changed my ID to technically be a San Marcos resident and not where I was before, in Bastrop. [Oct. 26] was the first day that I was able to actually vote because I just submitted my request for my ID and my stuff to be able to vote here.”

Jeannette Gonzalez, a senior electrical engineering major that voted on campus, says because she commutes from Kyle, she needed to vote early Oct. 26 to guarantee she could get it done on time.

“It was actually really simple this time," Gonzalez said. "The last time I voted it was maybe a mile away from my last apartment, and that took about 30 minutes. This time it literally took like, five minutes. There wasn’t a long line, I'm assuming because we got an extra week of voting [and] people probably started early on, but it was faster.”

Nancy Kujak, a 53-year-old sustainability studies graduate student, says she drove 21 hours from Minnesota to vote early, adding that she views the 2020 election as too important to not participate in.

“If I had a broken arm, a broken leg, if I had COVID, if I was on my deathbed, I would have drove here," Kujak said. 

Early voting ends Oct. 30. The PAC will be open to early voters from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 26-30 and Election Day Nov. 3.

For voting locations and times in San Marcos, visit Texas State's voter information webpage. To view approximate wait times at early voting locations in Hays County, visit the county's current elections website. For a detailed guide to the 2020 election including COVID-19 safety, mail-in ballots and sample ballots, visit The University Star's voter guide.

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