Live Updates: Austin Voters Go To The Polls On Super Tuesday

6 hours ago

It's Election Day in Texas for the March primary elections.

Our reporters will be sharing updates on what they see and hear throughout the day here. Check back for updates.

Find your nearest voting location and check on wait times at each location in the map below.

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4:28 p.m. Are you planning on voting this afternoon or evening? Here's what you need to know.

If you live in Travis, Williamson or Hays counties, you can vote at any polling place in your home county.

Check out the map above to find one with a shorter line, if you’re in Travis County. Current wait times for Williamson County polling places are here. If you’re in line by 7 p.m, you will be allowed to vote, even if it takes another hour before you can actually cast your ballot. Not in line by 7? No voting for you.

We’ve gotten a few questions about why Democrats and Republicans are split up to vote in some counties. This is a primary election, which means parties are selecting their nominees to compete in the November general election. You can only vote in one party’s primary — but you can choose which one, since Texas does not have party registration.

— Matt Largey

4:09 p.m. Update: Long lines at the Ruiz branch of the Austin Public Library

3:54 p.m. An update from KUT's Audrey McGlinchy, who's covering Travis County races

Tonight I'll be covering the race for Travis County district attorney, while monitoring other county races. There are three Democratic candidates: incumbent Margaret Moore and challengers José Garza and Erin Martinson.

Moore has support from Austin-area politicians, including Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, but she's faced criticism and lawsuits over her office's handling of sexual assault cases.

"There seems to be strong support for Garza, who has been endorsed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, so it's possible this race will head to a runoff in May.

— Audrey McGlinchy

3:50 p.m. Update: KUT's Claire McInerny will be following the Texas Senate race Tuesday night

Tonight I’m monitoring the Texas Senate race. Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn is likely to get the Republican nomination. The Democratic side of this race is very up in the air — 13 people are on the ballot.

So tonight will be pretty exciting to see who voters chose from this crowded field. With so many candidates it could definitely go to a runoff (which would happen in May). M.J. Heger and Cristina Tzintźun Ramirez have watch parties in Austin tonight, so I’ll be visiting them and their staff as the results roll in. I’ll be posting updates here and on Twitter.

— Claire McInerny

Voters wait in line at Randalls grocery store on Braker Lane in Northwest Austin.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT

3:26 p.m. An update on what's ahead from KUT's Mose Buchele

Tonight I’m covering the presidential primary in Austin. I’ll swing by Scholz Garten, longtime Democratic Party hangout, to talk to voters at an election night meet up. Then I’ll scoot over to the Bernie Sanders primary watch party at Central Machine Works in East Austin. 

How high are the stakes for the Democratic presidential candidates? Some have argued that Texas could be a bellwether for the rest of the primary contest. At very least the Sanders Campaign wants a win in Texas to blunt any momentum Joe Biden received from his South Carolina victory.

Austin, with its youth and left-leaning politics could help Sanders pull it off. But it’s not hard to see other candidates doing well here too. At the parties I’ll be watching for enthusiasm, who is showing up, and, above all else, the returns.

— Mose Buchele

2:29 p.m. Update: Don't read this while you're in line to vote.

If you're reading these words on an electronic device while in a voting location, it’s likely a poll worker will come up to you soon and tell you to cut it out.

There’s a good reason, though, you might get scolded for taking out your phone inside a polling place – and it’s not about election security. It’s about voter privacy, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says.

Read more from KUT's Ashley Lopez.

1:24 p.m. Update: What are some important issues for Austin voters? A thread:

12:19 p.m. Update: Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir expects a record-breaking Election Day. Also, avoid grocery stores — which usually have long lines — if you haven't voted yet.

11:38 a.m. Update: A good (second) reminder to check for nearby polling locations with shorter wait times.

11:34 a.m. Update: Olivia Sammon is another first-time voter.

11:28 a.m. Update: We're getting voter numbers from Travis County.

10:26 a.m. Update: Willing to travel farther afield? There are polling locations with minimal lines.

10:08 a.m. Update: Are you seeing long lines like this? You have other options!

9:27 a.m. Update: The Travis County polling location wait time map is beginning to update.

9:01 a.m. Update: Coronavirus fears lead to "rocky start" on Election Day

Multiple election judges and poll workers failed to show up on Election Day, seemingly due to fears of coronavirus, the Travis County Clerk's office said in a statement. The clerk's office has implemented emergency procedures and says most locations are up and running now.

Read the County Clerk's full statement below:

Super Tuesday got off to a rocky start due to multiple no-shows of many election judges and poll workers. To the extent that the Elections Office was given a reason, it seems people were fearful of the Coronavirus. Theoffice began implementing its emergency procedures as soon as it became apparent that the number of no-shows was a problem.The Elections staff and other personnel are filling in as emergency recruits. Most locations are up and running now and we’re continuing to work on resolutions to get everywhere fully staffed.

8:53 a.m. Update: 45-minute wait at this Manor polling location

8:50 a.m. Update: No lines at Givens Recreation Center in East Austin

8:08 a.m. Update: Wait time map issues reported

If you're looking at the Travis County voter wait time map, you may be seeing out-of-date information. The Travis County Clerk's office tweeted it is working on getting the map updated.

7:42 a.m. Update: First-time voter Frances Parra

7 a.m. Update: Polls are open. 

Texas, with its 228 delegates, is expected to play an outsized role in the Democratic presidential primary, even by Texas standards. Only one other state — California — will award more delegates (415 of the 1,357 total delegates at stake). 

We'll be keeping track of how Central Texans vote in closely watched races, including the crowded fight among M.J. Hegar, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, state Sen. Royce West and others to become the likely Democratic challenger to Sen. John Cornyn .

And in Austin, we're following the fates of candidates running for Congress, Travis County district attorney, county attorney and sheriff.