HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - On Friday, the man in charge of overseeing elections in Harris County says the nation’s second largest voting entity will probably set new records all weekend long.
The county has already broken early voting records every single day since the polling places opened on Monday.
Friday afternoon, the parking lot of the Metropolitan Multiservices Center in Montrose looked more like the mall in December than an early voting site.
Cars were circling nonstop for parking and Houstonians were quickly moving into line trying to beat the rush.
“We were expecting people to still be at work or at lunch so we were like, ‘Let’s get it,’” said voter Sherri Hong.
Hong and other voters, including Ose Munoz, were hoping to spend their weekend doing something else besides standing in line.
“It’s gonna be beautiful weather,” said Munoz. “I’m gonna enjoy this and put this behind me.”
“The record of in-person voting in early voting is 87,000,” said Stan Stanart, Harris County’s Clerk. “We are likely to break that record on this Saturday.”
So Stanart is sending more than 20 extra laptops to the county’s busiest early voting sites. But voters won’t see extra poll workers this weekend.
“Our teams are actually getting more efficient,” said Stanart. “As the numbers have climbed, the lines have actually decreased.”
He added, “It always happens the first day or two. Your team is gelling, just like a football team.”
Stanart says they’ll also keep the lines moving by moving any voter that needs to fill out a statement of residence or brings in a ballot by mail to a separate line.
Starting on Friday, Harris County voters will also see new signs inside each polling site warning them to double check their ballots.
Earlier in the week many voters complained they voted straight ticket, but the machines picked the other party for president. However, county officials blame operator error, not the machines themselves.
“Every time we’ve investigated, every time, we think there is a logical reason and the machines are working exactly as they are intended to work,” said Stanart. “Just be careful. Look at the review screen.”
Meanwhile, stacks of ballots mailed in will keep moving through Stanart’s downtown office, each scanned signature moving the number received closer to an expected record of 120,000.
Stanart says they’ve never gotten over 100,000.
The deadline for those who qualify to apply for a mail-in ballot is the end of business Friday afternoon.
Harris County’s 46 early voting sites will open earlier and stay open later this weekend, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
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