Early voting starts Monday: What you need to know before you cast your ballot

Everything you need to know before you head to the polls.
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Published: Oct. 23, 2022 at 5:09 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Early voting for the November 8th, General Election begins Monday. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of resources so you’re prepared to hit the polls.

Bell County:

Beginning at 7:00 a.m. Monday, Bell County voters will have the chance to cast their ballots in any one of seven locations around the county. During Early Voting and on Election Day, Bell County voters can use any voting center they want. On Election Day, that means choosing from any one of 42 locations.

Early Voting Locations:

Belton: Bell County Annex 550 E. 2nd Ave Belton, TX 76513

Harker Heights: Harker Heights Parks & Recreation 307 Millers Crossing Harker Heights, TX 76548

Killeen: Jackson Professional Learning Center 902 Rev R A Abercrombie Dr Killeen, TX 76543

Killeen: Bell County Annex 304 Priest Dr Killeen, TX 76541

Killeen: Senior Center @ Lions Club Park 1700 E. Stan Schleuter Loop Killeen, TX 76542

Salado: Salado Church of Christ 217 N. Stagecoach Road Salado, TX 76571

Temple: Temple ISD Administration Building 401 Santa Fe Way Temple, TX 76501

The closest location might not be the fastest. Especially on Election Day, voters at more popular sites will likely experience longer wait times. To help voters navigate that decision, the county has created its wait times app, which is available at BellCountyTx.com/voting. This portal not only shows every possible location but also communicates estimated wait time at each location.

Every vote center has the capacity to offer curbside voting to individuals with mobility problems. A placard near each center will display a cell phone number that can be called to request assistance.

Sample ballots are available here. They are divided up by precinct number. If voters are unsure of their precinct, they can find them using the interactive map. Users can input their address to find everything they need to determine which of the sample ballots in right for them.

McLennan County:

Early voting is open to all registered McLennan County Voters. Registered McLennan County Voters can vote on Election Day at any of the open Vote Centers.

Early Voting Locations:

McLennan County Elections Administration Office Records Building (Basement) 214 North 4th Street, Suite 300 Waco, TX 76701

Robinson Community Center 106 W. Lyndale Avenue Robinson, TX 76706

Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center 1020 Elm Avenue Waco, TX 76704

First Assembly of God Church 6701 Bosque Boulevard Waco, TX 76710

Hewitt City Hall/Library 200 Patriot Court Hewitt, TX 76643

The dates and times of Early Voting are:

Monday, October 24, 2022 through Friday, October 28, 2022 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday, October 29, 2022 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Sunday, October 30, 2022 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Monday, October 31, 2022 through Friday, November 4, 2022 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Changes to Election Day Vote Centers:

  • Tennyson Middle School will be closed. Holy Spirit Episcopal Church will be open to replace this site.
  • Waco High School (PAC) will be closed. Grace Church will be open to replace this site.
  • Riesel Junior High/High School will be closed. Riesel ISD Urbantke Gymnasium will be open to replace this site.
  • First Woodway Baptist Church: Voting room has been moved from the “MAC” building to the “Venue” building located across the street on Ritchie Road.

Sample ballots for McLennan County are available here.

Voting Reminders:

“A Voting Center is a unique place,” Bell County Elections Administrator Dr. Desi Roberts said. “There are some otherwise ordinary behaviors that people may not realize could get them in trouble within 100 feet of a polling site.”

Carrying a firearm is strictly prohibited in polling places.

“Obviously, in Texas we have a lot of citizens who practice Constitutional Carry,” Dr. Roberts said. “Normally, that law would allow them to carry a gun. However, we have laws related to elections that make it illegal to do so near a voting center.”

Section 46.03 of the Penal Code states that a person commits an offense if they carry a weapon on the premises of a polling place, either on election day or during early voting. Only Election Judges and law enforcement officers are exempt from this law.

The use of cell phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, sound recorders, or any other device that may be used to communicate wirelessly record sound or images is also prohibited within 100 feet of voting centers.

“We have gotten used to always having our phones out,” Dr. Roberts said, “and it’s understandable that some folks may want to use it as a reference and look up some races while they vote. However, you cannot have your phones or devices out in the polling place.”

Instead, Roberts encourages voters to do their research in advance, and know who they want to vote for before they ever enter the voting center.

“We publish a sample of every ballot in the county to our website,” Dr. Roberts said. “Voters can bring it paper notes or even print our and complete their sample ballot to use as a guide.”

Display of campaign materials is also carefully monitored. No political signs or literature related to a candidate, political party, or measure appearing on the ballot is allowed within 100 feet of the voting center. Critically, this rule can extend to political t-shirts or apparel. Individuals violating this policy may be asked by the presiding Elections Judge at the site to cover the offending apparel before entering the building.

“I know this could be frustrating for some voters,” Roberts said. “I would recommend that people avoid any apparel or signs containing political statements of any kind. That way, there is no risk of them getting confronted about it.”

Finally, don’t forget proof of identification. Under Texas law, voters who possess one of the seven acceptable forms of photo ID must present that ID at the polls when voting in person.

Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

With the exception of the U.S. Citizenship Certificate, which does not expire, for voters aged 18-69, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place. For voters aged 70 or older, the acceptable form of photo identification may be expired for any length of time if the identification is otherwise valid. Election Identification Certificates are available from DPS driver license offices during regular business hours.

If you do not possess one of the above, here is a list of the supporting forms of ID that can be presented:

  • copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate;
  • copy of or original current utility bill;
  • copy of or original bank statement;
  • copy of or original government check;
  • copy of or original paycheck; or
  • copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).

After presenting one of the forms of supporting ID listed above, the voter must execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.