Hays County Commissioners voted to add additional early voting days to the Texas State campus during their meeting Tuesday.
Oct. 22 and 23 will now be early voting days in addition to Oct. 24 and 25, which were already designated as such. Polling will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center.
Joyce Cowan, Hays County Elections Administrator, said she spoke with Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs, about the addition of more early voting days at Texas State’s polling locations. Cowan said Smith and the university were willing to work with the county on whatever decision they made.
Will Conley, commissioner for Precinct 3, spoke about a prior proposal. The proposal suggested adding only one additional day to campus early voting, but allowing for three more extra hours of voting time.
The hours that were made available for early voting on campus were determined by student activity, Cowan said. Class times and organization meetings were taken into account when deciding the availability of the polls for students.
“We looked at the activity and tried to accommodate the majority of the voters,” Cowan said. “I know there are students who get up and are ready to go at 7 a.m., but we haven’t seen much activity in the past in early mornings.”
Hays County early voters account for a large percentage of voters in the San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and Dripping Springs areas, Cowan said.
“We will accommodate any voters who come into our locations,” Cowan said. “I think the biggest portion of our voters is going to vote early. I think the opportunity is there for people that may not have voted in the past to definitely vote this time.”
Conley said there are more opportunities for early voting in San Marcos now than there were during the 2008 elections. On-campus polling was more present in 2008 than ever before, he said.
“What’s most important to me is that we have (polling) time available to be as equivalent as possible to (early voting in) 2008 on campus,” Conley said.
Cowan told county commissioners every day of additional voting will cost the county $500 in order to pay poll workers.
County Judge Bert Cobb stressed the need for a final decision, saying the polling locations and the additional days needed to be approved by the state and federal government.
“When you start changing things at this late a date, there could be a problem,” Cobb said.
Cobb and Precinct 3 Commissioner Mark Jones voted against the motion.
General election polling sites will be open Nov. 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Students can also vote by mail-in ballot after submitting the mail-in application found on the county’s website.