TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — More than 35,000 people voted in person in Travis County during the first day of early voting in the November 2020 election – an increase of more than 2,000 compared to the first day of early voting in 2016.
Long lines were a common sight at many of the county's 37 early voting polling locations, with some voters waiting more than an hour to vote.
"We knew that today was a big day. It's bigger than we thought," Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said Tuesday afternoon.
This high turnout meant the county's online wait time map was, at times, a bit misleading. The scale only went up to "over 20 minutes," but that could mean an hour or more. Those locations were marked in red.
"I agree that if we have an hour-long line, it's not helpful to tell voters that [the waiting time is] more than 20 minutes," DeBeauvoir said.
Toward the end of the first early voting day, the county changed its online wait time map to be more precise. The red color now means "over 51 minutes."
Also, at several locations, there were problems with the ballot scanners, causing some people to worry that their vote wouldn't be counted.
But DeBeauvoir said there's no need to worry.
"We actually scan [the ballot]. They get turned over to the ballot board and the ballot board makes all the decisions about it. And all we need is an affidavit from the polling place that says, 'Here's what happened,'" she said.
Many of the early voting poll workers are new, DeBeauvoir added, and some of them had first-day jitters. But the process should be smoother moving forward now that they have repeated the steps multiple times.
With early voting underway, DeBeauvoir said her office's focus is now on recruiting more poll workers for Election Day. They still need 300 to 400 more.
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