Plano North October 2020

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VOTER TURNOUT

safe as possible—in our polling places, for our poll workers and for our vot- ers,” Sherbet said. State and local leaders have taken steps to try and minimize the incon- veniences posed by the pandemic. Earlier this summer, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the early vot- ing period would be extended by six days. Collin and Denton counties are also allowing allow eligible residents to vote curbside. Despite these allowances, some party leaders believe not enough has been done to encourage participa- tion in the November election. For example, in Texas, only certain resi- dents are eligible to vote by mail. Safeguards put into place by state and local government to make the process simpler are not enough, said Mike Rawlins, Collin County Demo- cratic Party chair. “I am encouraged that the governor did add another week to early vot- ing,” Rawlins said. “But as far as our county goes, we have not signicantly extended the early voting hours to make it easier for people to vote.” The eradication of straight-ticket voting following a change in state law that went into eect this year is another signicant change to this year’s election. Voters who previ- ously would have marked a single party for their entire ballot will now have to select a candidate in each individual race. In-person voters are advised to come prepared with who they plan to vote for, to vote during o-peak hours and to cast their ballots early. “The goal is to try to … get people … in and out as quickly as possible, but not [to rush] them if they want to take time to spend at that machine a little bit longer,” Sherbet said.

<55% 56%-60% 61%-65% 66%-70% 71%-75%

TIPS FORVOTING Here are some tips from Collin County Election Administrator Bruce Sherbet on how to make voting as smooth as possible. • Vote early. Early voting begins Oct. 13. • Vote during o-peak hours, such as mid-morning. • Know who you are voting for.

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Here is how voters in precincts across Plano turned out for the 2016 presidential election.

Highest turnout 74.65% Lowest turnout 53.74%

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SOURCE: COLLIN COUNTY ELECTIONSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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PARKER RD.

SOURCES: COLLIN COUNTY, DENTON COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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Takingeveryprecaution Logistical challenges associated with social distancing and sanitation are driving up costs and forcing o- cials to rethink the layout of the typical polling location. The July primary run- o was a good rst run and helped the county prepare for November, Sherbet said. Collin County has spent about $250,000 on additional voting equip- ment, such as ballot counters and curbside voting devices, Sherbet said. The county has also received an addi- tional $1.2 million in grants for the

election. The full cost of the election will not be known until after Election Day, he added. “I would say, easily, it could increase it by 50% or double the cost, possibly, when it’s all said and done,” Sherbet said. The virus has also prompted a greater number of eligible voters to apply to vote by mail. As of Oct. 12, Collin County distributed about 33,000 mail-in ballots, which is up from the 21,000 mail-in ballots it received during the 2016 presidential election, Sherbet said. The county expects to

receive somewhere between 35,000 to 40,000 applications by the Oct. 23 deadline, he added. Neal Katz, executive director of the Collin County Republican Party and chair of the Collin County Ballot Board, said he spent time ahead of this elec- tion reassuring voters that theirmail-in ballots will count. In years past, the typical rejection rate in the county has been one ballot per 1,000 cast, he said. “It’s not that much,” he said. “Our aim is to make sure every vote counts if it’s done correctly and fairly.” The Collin County Republican

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