FORT WORTH, Texas - Tarrant County commissioners decided Monday to add additional polling sites for the final days of early voting, which has seen large turnout.
About 550,000 had cast ballots in the county as of Monday morning -- that includes mail-in ballots and those cast in person.
Officials said it was clear some locations have drawn lengthier lines than others, which why is eight new sites for the final two days of early voting will be opened.
“If we put a couple, two or three more sites in the northeast, two or three more down southeast and then again the one in Benbrook,” said Judge Glen Whitley. “We feel like we can take those places that were a little overcrowded early on and maybe prevent them from being an Issue the last two days of early voting this week.”
Whitley says the decision takes into consideration an effort to create more balance. The county’s office of elections has fielded concerns involving safety.
Fewer voting machines inside a location means longer wait times, while having more machines equals less social distance between voters, officials say.
“Quite honestly I feel like if we can get folks to wear the masks, the lack of social distancing will not be as much as an issue. If people will come prepared to vote then when they get to that voting machine they can get their voting done in probably less than five minutes,” Whitley said.
Whitley says he’s also confident the eight new voting locations will help on what are usually busy days at the polls.
“We feel like Thursday and Friday will be big days,” he said.
Also, for the third time since early voting started, a Tarrant County polling location was closed because a poll worker contracted COVID-19. Poll workers at the JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts-Como site have been told to quarantine.