Delays, outages cause problems for voters
Updated On: Nov 06 2012 05:26:08 PM CST
Galveston County voters will be able to cast their ballots until 8:54 p.m. after some polling places opened later than scheduled.
Some polling centers opened nearly two hours late. The Galveston County Clerk's Office said at many locations, poll workers did not start the computer systems early enough to be ready on time. The delays were reported in Galveston, Texas City and La Marque.
Officials said the system first prints all of the ballots, as many as 463, and cannot process voters until the ballot printing is complete. Some places also ran out of rolls of paper to print out the ballots. Extra supplies were delivered to the polling centers.
When the polling places opened, long lines had formed. Some voters had to wait as much as 90 minutes.
"I said, 'Shoot. I should have done what my husband did and voted early.' I started to turn around and thought I'll come later and maybe the line will be shorter," voter Helen Morris said.
Galveston County officials said the polling places will remain open until 8:54 p.m. A judge ordered that anyone standing in line by 7 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot as usual. Those in line between 7:01 p.m. and 8:54 p.m. will only be allowed to vote provisionally.
A power outage caused problems early Tuesday at a south Houston polling place.
Electricity went out at Precinct 630 at the Christia Adair Community Center, 15107 Cullen Blvd., preventing people from casting their ballots when it opened at 7 a.m.
CenterPoint Energy crews were sent to the location to fix the problem. A back-up generator is now operating at the center, so voting has resumed. Voters said only half of the voting booths were working, making the lines move slowly.
Some voters in Montgomery and Harris counties got to the polls and were told they weren't registered to vote. Many of those people thought they registered through the so-called "Motor Voter" method when they applied for or renewed their Texas driver's license. A chain of several agencies handle the data after it is submitted, including the Department of Public Safety, the Secretary of State's Office and the county voter registrar. It is unclear where the breakdown happened, if at all, but neither DPS, the Secretary of State's Office, nor the Harris County Voter Registrar's office has taken responsibility for the problem.
A Long Ballot
In addition to the president, Texans will be voting for a new U.S. Senator to replace the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison. Tea party-backed Republican Ted Cruz is facing former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler.
In Harris County, a new sheriff and district attorney will be decided. Incumbent Sheriff and Democrat Adrian Garcia is pitted against Republican Louis Guthrie, a law enforcement official with 21 years experience. Remington Alessi is running on the Green Party ticket.
Republican Mike Anderson is facing Democrat Lloyd Oliver in the race for District Attorney.
Another key race on the ballot is for State Senate District 6, which was held by Mario Gallegos, who passed away in October. His name remains on the ballot, along with Republican R.W. Bray. If Gallegos wins, Gov. Rick Perry will have until May to call for a special election.
At the bottom of the ballot is the Houston Independent School District's $1.9 billion bond proposal. The money would pay for major upgrades to 38 schools, impact 300 campuses and more than 200,000 students.
Nearly 800,000 Houstonians cast their ballot during early voting, which was a record turnout. Still, long lines are expected on Election Day. The polls close at 7 p.m.
KPRC Local 2 is hosting an Election Day phone bank with the League of Women Voters to answer all your election questions. Call 713-271-1905 until 7 p.m.
For information regarding Election Day polling locations for Harris County, you can also call 713-755-6965 or visit www.harrisvotes.com.
Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.