Early voting begins

Safety measures in place at courthouse

Posted 6/30/20

Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff election, which features sheriff hopefuls Bobby Adams and Billy J. Reeves on the Republican ticket, began Monday at the Madison County Courthouse with updated procedures to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Early voting begins

Safety measures in place at courthouse

Posted

Early voting for the July 14 primary runoff election, which features sheriff hopefuls Bobby Adams and Billy J. Reeves on the Republican ticket, began Monday at the Madison County Courthouse with updated procedures to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, county election officials have added curbside voting to their repertoire for citizens who would prefer to remain inside their cars. Touchscreen voting machines are also being used in lieu of traditional ballots.

“Instead of them touching the screen with their fingers, we are providing an unsharpened pencil, and they can use the eraser end on the screen,” said Madison County Elections Administrator Janet Boone.

A county official will retrieve the identification from the individuals wishing to vote from their cars before bringing out an electronic machine for them to use.

“Our setup is a little bit different,” said Boone. “Please practice social distancing and if you feel like you may be exhibiting symptoms, please call ahead for curbside voting.”

County officials are prohibited from asking voters outright if they have been exhibiting symptoms and have pulled out all the stops to accommodate the state’s in-person voting requirements.

“When they come into the building, we have six-foot distance markers marked off, we have hand sanitation stations for when they first enter the courtroom,” said Boone.

While masks are not required, they are highly recommended and offered to voters at the courthouse.

According to Boone, 85 citizens participated in early voting Monday. The election was originally scheduled to take place in May before it was pushed back due to the virus.

A portion of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were allocated to elections, allowing county officials to purchase hand sanitizer, masks and other materials required to accommodate the state’s election stipulations in the time of COVID.

“It was not a huge obstacle,” said Boone on the delay. “The state kept coming out with new things and updating the rules quite often, but it just pushed us in getting our stuff ready. We did get a grant to help defer the cost of buying (anything related to combatting the COVID-19 threat).”

The race for the next Madison County Sheriff between Adams and Reeves is the only race featured on the Republican ticket. The two set themselves apart from candidates Les Neeley and Jon Stubblefield during the original primary March 3. Adams received 38.55% of the vote while Reeves garnered 28.14%. The official runoff election was originally scheduled for May 26.

The Democratic ticket features the primary race for U.S. Senator between Mary “M.J.” Hegar and Royce West as well as the primary race for Railroad Commissioner between Roberto “Beto” Alonzo and Chrysta Castaneda.

Early voting, which takes place at the Madison County Courthouse from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., will last until Thursday before resuming next week, Monday through Friday. Polls will be closed this Friday (July 3) in observation of Independence Day.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on election day, July 14. Citizens can vote at the courthouse as well as North Zulch ISD and the Midway Community Center.

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