Richardson October 2020

2020 Voter Guide

The county has had some help shouldering those costs. In late Sep- tember, the elections department was awarded a $15 million grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to assist with the resources and sta- ing needed to prepare, according to a news release. Nationwide, experts estimate it will cost about $4 billion to administer the election; yet, Congress had allocated only $400 million as of September, according to the center. Collin County has also increased the number of polling locations, Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said. This is due in part to the fact that the number of registered voters in Collin County has soared since the last pres- idential election, he said. “We’re going to set a record in [turn- out] just because we have so many more registered voters,” he said. The pandemic has also driven a greater number of voters to apply to vote by mail. As of mid-September, Dallas County had received about 100,000 applications to vote by mail, which is double the record 50,000 mail-in ballots it has received in years

county polling location during early voting and on Election Day. Voters can check the estimated wait time at each location by visiting their respective county’s website. These services are only eective if poll workers have the bandwidth to provide them. Dallas County has seen a major decline in volunteers over age 65, a group that normally makes up about 40% of the total, Pippins-Poole said. As of mid-September, the county had enrolled 5,000 poll workers. Its goal is to sign up 6,500. Montfort said he feels condent that the recent decline in COVID-19 cases will encourage people not only to vol- unteer but also to feel more comfort- able turning out in person. “The fear of the unknown with COVID has somewhat subsided,” he said. “I can only hope that by Novem- ber, the numbers are low enough that people feel secure about going in and voting.”

past, Pippins-Poole said. Neal Katz, executive director of the Collin County Republican Party and chair for the Collin County Ballot Board, has spent time ahead of the election reassuring voters that their mail-in ballots will still count. The typical rejection rate in the county has been one ballot per 1,000 cast in years past, 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.” Debunking falsehoods around the alleged insecurity of mail-in voting is also one of the objectives of the League of Women Voters Richardson. “I believe that’s one of the biggest things we can do right now is try to provide factual information,” Steger said. The lead-up to the election has also looked dierent this year. Instead of knocking on doors and talking to voters in person, volunteers with the Collin County Democratic Party have turned to making phone calls and tex- ting, Chair Mike Rawlins said. “[In-person campaigning] kind of goes contrary to taking the pandemic

seriously and is not the kind of behavior that they want people to engage in,” Rawlins said. What toexpect Despite the surge in mail-in voters, Rawlins said he believes that eager- ness to participate inwhat voters deem a historic election will likely outweigh concerns around the coronavirus. “My guess is that if this were a nor- mal year, the pandemic would prob- ably depress turnout. But it is not a normal year,” he said. The Collin County Republican Party is also condent that voters will head to the polls despite the pandemic. “Collin County really turns out heavily,” Katz said. “Right now, we have 623,000 registered voters, so I’m expecting 400,000 people to vote.” In-person voters should plan for longer lines, not just due to social dis- tancing but also because of the elimi- nation of straight-party voting, which Pippins-Poole said could increase the average time spent in the voting booth from two minutes to 15 minutes. Dallas and Collin counties both allow voters to cast ballots at any

For more information, visit communityimpact.com/ vote .

WHAT TO EXPECT THIS YEAR

This year’s election will look dierent from those of years past. Here is what voters should know before heading to the polls.

LONGER LINES

NO STRAIGHTPARTYVOTING

SANITATIONGUIDELINES

Styluses are required. The county will provide, or voters can bring one from home. Common household items that can be used as styluses: STYLUSES

This could increase time in the booth from

Masks are strongly recommended but not required.

2MINUTES TO 15MINUTES.

90MINUTES TO 4 HOURS Estimated wait times at Richardson City Hall

Machines will be sanitized between each voter.

Pencil erasers

Q-tips

Medical grade gloves

SOURCES: CITY OF RICHARDSON, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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RICHARDSON EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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