Rockwall County seeks to transition from precinct-based voting to voting centers

ROCKWALL, TX – February 11, 2021 — The Rockwall County Commissioners Court approved to have the Rockwall Elections Administrator Chris Lynch apply to the Secretary of State for the county’s participation in a new countywide polling program.

The new program would allow voters to vote at any polling location in the county on Election Day – no matter which precinct they reside in.

The program would alleviate issues in previous Election Day voting periods in the county where residents would show up at the wrong polling location and not be able to vote. With the program, there would be no wrong place to vote no matter where your address is located within the county. Residents could vote at whichever polling location is most convenient for them.

Lynch said the countywide polling program would also help eliminate the confusion about where to vote and give folks more options if there happens to be a long wait time at a polling location.

“Essentially the program makes Election Day an extension of Early Day Voting where you can vote anywhere in the county,” he said.

“This program allows for for a better allocation of resources, equipment and personnel to more effectively support voters in the county,” said Rockwall County Judge David Sweet.

Rockwall County currently has around 70,000 registered voters and 17 precincts. If approved to participate in the program, the county would be able to cut down the number of polling locations to 65 percent, meaning it could save more money.

Lubbock was the first county to participate in this program back in 2006, after House Bill 758 providing for the program was added to the Texas Election Code in the 79th Legislative Session in 2005. Roughly a third of the counties in the state have been participating in the program since its inception.

The application process for the county to participate in the program stipulates that the program may only be used for certain elections:

  • November General Election
  • November Constitutional Amendment Election
  • May Uniform Election Date and any resulting runoff election
  • Primary and Primary Runoff Election
  • Elections of local political subdivisions if held jointly with one of the above elections

Lynch said assuming they get approval from the Secretary of State, the first election they would choose to participate in the program would be the November General Election.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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