The Ellis County Elections Office has released voter and worker safety information for the upcoming July 14 Primary Runoff Election.
For the runoff election, Republican party candidates for sheriff, Brad Norman and Chuck Edge, face off. On the Democratic Party ballot, Royce West and Mary “MJ” Hegar vie for U.S. senator, while Chrysta Castaneda and Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo vie for railroad commissioner.
Early voting runs June 29-July 10 and it is recommended that voters cast their ballots during this time frame and to arrive at non-peak times (mid-day and mid-afternoon) to help avoid long lines and serve for easier social distancing.
“Voter and poll worker safety at the polls is our top priority in Ellis County,” a spokesman said. “We want to keep everyone safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. These past few months have been unusual with moving dates of elections, adding days to early voting and preparing health-safety measures at the poll place while still having the unknowns and changes each day.
“Our office is committed to providing safe and accessible voting with the same security and integrity we have always provided during an election,” the spokesman said. “Processes are completed according to the Election Code and that has not changed; we are just working with stronger health protocols than we have before for the voter and for the poll worker’s safety.
The following are the minimum recommended health protocols that will be in place for the Primary Runoff Election unless there are additional developments.
Recommended voter health protocols:
• Wear a face covering (over nose and mouth). However, if a poll worker needs to verify identity of the voter, they will ask for the mask to be removed and then replaced for the duration of the voting process.
• Wash or disinfect hands upon entering and exiting the voting area along with practicing cough etiquette, cleanliness and sanitation.
• Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between any others where possible.
• Bring your own pen to sign your name or fill out any documents at check-in.
• Use the provided disposable cotton swab to make your ballot selections on the marking device without physically touching the device.
• Individuals aged 65 and older (at risk) should consider submitting an application for a ballot by mail (deadline of July 2).
• Self-screen before going to the polling place. Voters who exhibit any CDC listed symptoms associated with COVID-19 may want to consider utilizing curbside voting at the polling place, to the extent they meet the eligibility requirements.
Recommended poll worker health protocols:
• Face shields, gloves and masks will be provided to the poll workers.
• Consistent disinfecting of items that come in contact with voters such as check-in tables, writing utensils, voting system equipment, chairs, handrails and doors leading in and out of the polling place.
• Workers will be trained on appropriate cleaning and disinfection protocols, hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
• Poll workers will self-screen for any CDC listed symptoms before entering the polling place.
• To the extent feasible, maintain at least 6 feet between others at the polling location.
• Arrange polling place and marking the floor with masking tape to allow voters to maintain at least 6 feet separation from other voters.
Voting by mail eligibility:
• 65 years of age or older on election day.
• Expects to be out of the county during the days and hours that voting is conducted during early voting in person and on election day. Must provide an out of county address including the beginning and the ending date of receiving mail at this address. This application is only good for one election and runoff.
• Has a disability, defined as a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from voting in person without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or injury to the voter’s health.
• Confined in jail, but eligible to vote. This application is only good for one election and runoff.
• To vote by mail, first apply for a ballot. Call the elections office for an application to be mailed to you; the application is also located on the elections office website at www.co.ellis.tx.us/elections. Applications for ballot by mail must be received no later than close of business Thursday, July 2.
•Submit an absentee application for ballot by mail to Early Voting Clerk, 204 E. Jefferson Street, Waxahachie, TX 75165, by fax to 972-923-5194 or by emailing a scanned copy of signed application to firstname.lastname@example.org. The elections office must receive original application within four days.
If a voter contracts COVID-19 (or other sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health) after the July 2 deadline to submit an application for a ballot by mail, the voter should contact the elections office for more details about submitting an application for emergency early voting ballot due to sickness or physical disability.
For questions, call the office at 972-825-5195 or email email@example.com.