Nov 08, 2016

Austin Poll Worker Confusion Leads to Extra Delays for Some Voters

Reporting Texas

Some voters at a North Austin polling station were improperly delayed from voting Tuesday, and some of them were asked to cast a provisional ballot. The tip came to Reporting Texas from Electionland, a national consortium of news organizations that are focusing on voter experiences at the polls.

An election clerk at the Little Walnut Creek Library polling station told Reporting Texas that about 10 to 20 registered voters who lacked acceptable photo IDs were sent to a separate line, where they waited 30 to 45 minutes while an election official considered their situations. The clerk requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Texas voters whose names are on the registration list but who lack acceptable photo ID are required only to sign an affidavit saying they made a reasonable effort to get one. Then they can cast a regular ballot. If voters are not on the list because of an administrative error, they can cast a provisional ballot, which county officials will later review.

Ginny Ballard, a Travis County elections spokesperson, said that all of the affected voters eventually cast a ballot.

“The judge at that site was confused about some of the new photo ID processes,” Ballard told an Electionland reporter. “We spoke with her over the phone and clarified the process for the use of the [affidavit] and alternative forms of ID. No voters were disenfranchised, and we are sending out a technical trainer to stay at that site until it closes.”

According to the election clerk at the site, some of the voters were allowed to cast regular ballots while others had to cast provisional ballots.

Additional reporting by Michael Thompson