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After Early Voting Snags in East Austin, County Extends Polling Location Hours

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Travis County Commissioners met in a rare Sunday session yesterday to formalize a fix for early voting hours at some Austin polling places. Five early voting locations, four of them east of I-35, have not been open the standard 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours. The Howson, Dan Ruiz and Carver Branch Libraries – along with Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center and the Austin Area Urban League – had their hours reduced due to city budget cuts several years ago.

Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir told commissioners Sunday those cuts have since been reversed, but regular voting hours had not been restored at those locations.

“That’s what we’re having to do today, and we’re asking you to sign this so we can implement it for the last two busiest days of the early voting period for both the Democratic and Republican primary election,” DeBeauvoir told commissioners yesterday.

A statement on the Travis County Clerk's website prior to Sunday's vote expressed confidence that the county could "comply with the legal deadlines in time to extend hours." 

"When policy is not followed, it is up to elected officials to step in and make things right," the statement said. "Voters raised concerns about reduced hours at five Early Voting locations, and we thank them for calling attention to what now looks like a mistake."

Polls at those locations will all be open until 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Commissioners said they would have made the change immediately, but state law requires a 72-hour waiting period before it could take effect.

Below you can see a map of all permanent voting locations.

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