Hays County approves voting precinct changes

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Hays County approves voting precinct changes

 Hays County Historic Court House. 

Photo by Jakob Rodriguez

Hays County Historic Court House.

Photo by Jakob Rodriguez

Hays County Historic Court House.

Photo by Jakob Rodriguez

Hays County Historic Court House.

Photo by Jakob Rodriguez

Jacqueline Ziebis, News Reporter

The Hays County Commissioners splits up precincts under state statue, but changes will not affect university precincts for now.

On April 2, it was voted precincts 113, 120, 127, 129, 221, 224, 228, 336, 337, 443 and 444 will be in addition to 19 new voting polling places.

Hays County’s Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson said some precincts had reached over 5,000 voters in previous years, the maximum amount of registered voters allowed at one precinct by law.

“We don’t want any polling place to be overburdened during elections,” Anderson said. “The state statute requires this.”

Although these changes will be happening throughout Hays, most San Marcos residents will not be affected. The only voting precincts changing near San Marcos is 443 and 444. Precincts 443 and 444 will be split up and precincts 445, 446 and 448 will be added.

During last years election cycle, the Hays County Commissioners worked closely with Texas State to provide an additional polling place on campus in the LBJ Student Center. Although the location was set to be a temporary, the campus is set to become a permanent one in 2019.

Clayton Chalman, theatre sophomore, voted in the LBJ Student Center November 2018 and said the location was not ideal.

“It was very close to being out-of-hand; they just did not have enough room for everybody that was showing up,” Chalman said. “I remember we were stretched out into Chick-fil-A.”

Anderson said it is unlikely LBJ will serve as a polling location again, but Hays County Election Commission are considering other locations on campus. Making the university a permanent polling place is on the agenda as a separate issue.

Anderson will be working closely with Texas State administration in the next few months in making an official polling location on campus.

“We’re having those discussions right now and we’ll be working with some members at the university to decide where (the polling location) will be,” Anderson said. “The LBJ center was located right in the hallway so there was a lot of noise with people passing through and not any privacy, so we’re looking to have it somewhere else. There wasn’t parking and we need to make sure it’s accessible to everyone.”

Other locations on campus, like the football field, are being considered as well to avoid previous issues experienced last year.

“Some electioneering was going on in LBJ, meaning people were telling other people who to vote for and favoring one candidate over the other, which is against the law,” Anderson said. “So we are trying to figure out the best place where we can enforce our laws.”

Nyssa Rodriguez, psychology junior, said adding Texas State as an official voting location would be beneficial as long as systematic errors were changed.

“I don’t know how long they’ve been voting (on campus), but if they could fix all the little bugs with it, I think it would be a really good idea,” Rodriguez said.

Hays County has made voting precinct changes available on its website.

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