Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs: ‘there’s a lot of work to be done’ to boost voter turnout

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — It’s a busy time at the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

As Texans head to the polls to choose proposed changes to the state’s constitution and vote on local ballot measures, the state’s top elections official says she and her team are prepared to tackle any issues that arise.

“Certainly it’s a day we plan to be here for dinner,” Ruth Hughs said ahead of Election Day.

She and her staff will work to coordinate election results from the state’s 254 counties, and they have planned for a long night.

“We’ll be here and we’ll be manning the lines,” Hughs said.

Aside from a handful of complaints regarding wait times at polling places around Texas, the early voting period was smooth sailing, according to her office. The state’s five largest counties saw the biggest polling numbers due to dense populations, she said.

“Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis County are the five counties where we’ve seen the greatest turnout,” she explained.

Hughs herself was traveling during early voting and will head to the polls when they open at 7:00 a.m. to cast her vote.

Polls are open 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. Voters will need to bring an approved form of photo identification. Those who cannot “reasonably obtain” one of those forms of identification may fill out a special form and bring a supporting document.

Experts do not expect as many voters this cycle compared to years where Texans choose federal and state leaders.

“Makes me think there’s a lot of work to be done,” Hughs explained. Her office has worked on that in a few ways, by encouraging high school students to register to vote. State party officials also push “Get Out the Vote” messages.

“Social media is very helpful in that regard,” Hughs said.

Some counties purchased new voting equipment after the 2018 election, and are using this election to test out the equipment before larger turnout in 2020.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with business leaders, local election officials and really try to make sure that they have the resources they need and to use the state so that we can help them in the process,” she said.

More election information is available at the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

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