Sunday early voting noon-4 pm.; Monday 7 am-7 p.m.
If your busy work week does not allow time to get to the polls for early voting in Shelby County, County Clerk Jennifer Fountain and crew have just the thing for you — Sunday afternoon voting from noon-4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25.
More than 4,000 Shelby County registered voters have taken the opportunity to cast ballots early for the November general election as of this past Friday.
Shelby County Clerk Jennifer Fountain said 709 voters turned out Monday at the Center Community House where a 12 hour window, from 7 a.m. — 7 p.m., was available for early voting. In total by the end of early voting on Monday, 2,745 people had cast ballots in the county, she said.
Early voting continues until Oct. 30, she said. For Tuesday through Friday this week the Shelby County early voting location at 423 San Augustine Street, is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
This weekend there were local early voting opportunities on both Saturday and Sunday, Fountain said. Saturday hours were from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; while the location will be open from 12 p.m.-4 p..m., Sunday.
Monday, Oct. 26, will provide Shelby County voters with another early-to-late opportunity, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. From Tuesday through Friday this coming week, Oct. 27-30; the hours will be 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Fountain said a social media post being circulated has raised a lot of questions about the initials located on the backs of ballots. She explained why they are there.
“They are my initials, since I am the Election Judge for early voting,” she said. “On election day each judge will put their own initials on the ballot.”
The election code from the Texas Secretary of State that says the judge must put those initials on the back of each ballot.
“All this does is determines if the ballot was voted early or on election day in the case of any recounts,” Fountain said. “There is no way to determine who voted what ballot, and the judges initials do not void your ballot and it does nothing to your vote at all.”
Fountain also said there is a big change starting this election cycle for voters who in the past have voted along straight party lines. She said voters should allow a few extra minutes at the polling location to allot for that.
“In 2017 Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 25 which ends the ability to allow voters the option of voting a straight party ballot,” she said.
Straight-ticket or “straight-party” voting allowed voters to select all a party’s candidates on the ballot with one mark. Straight-party voting elimination in Texas met intense opposition, and although the change was signed into law almost three years ago, a last-minute amendment to the legislation delayed its implementation until this year’s November 2020 General election.
“Therefore we ask all voters to budget a few extra minutes in your time when coming in to vote your ballot, since you will have to review the entire ballot and mark each individual candidate you wish to vote for,” Fountain said.
Remember, curbside voting will be an option if you are unable to come inside the polling locations.
If you have any questions or wish to apply for a ballot by mail, please call the Shelby County Clerk's Office at 936-598-6361.