July 14 Is Texas Primary Runoff Election Day for Comal Voters
Comal County voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide the fates of Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate, the Texas Railroad Commission and Republican candidates for the State Board of Education Place 5.
Winners will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Voters may cast ballots at any of the 12 vote centers listed on the county’s election page. Canyon Lake voters can head to Tye Preston Memorial Library’s meeting room, 16311 South Access Rd., or vote at North Shore United Methodist Church, 23880 N. Cranes Mill Rd.
However, late this afternoon, Comal County posted on its Facebook page that a truck delivering elections equipment broke down, leading to delays in the drop off and set up of equipment at nine vote centers.
“Polling places are still expected to open at 7 a.m. tomorrow, and voters should not notice any difference in their voting experience — although election judges and other workers will have either a very late night or very early morning to ensure that happens,” the county said.
Three vote centers in New Braunfels received their equipment this morning before the truck broke down, the county said. They are New Braunfels Christian Church, Christ Presbyterian Church and River Chase subdivision clubhouse.
To see a complete list of polling locations, click here.
The county on its website notes there could be changes in polling locations due to COVID-19.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, Jerrie Champlin with League of Women Voters of the Comal Area refers voters to this voters guide.
What’s It Like to Vote During a Pandemic?
Voters are not required to wear masks in tomorrow’s election, under a July 2 order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott. Curbside voting is available to anyone who asks. To review health protocols for voting in person, click here.
“We don’t want to deny somebody the ability to go vote simply because they don’t have a mask, and that’s why if you look into the depths of the order, you would see that they are not mandated for people to go vote because we didn’t want anybody to say, well, they couldn’t vote because they didn’t have a mask,” Abbott said shortly after issuing his order.
On July 3, Comal County Elections Coordinator Cynthia Jaqua said in a statement that all county poll workers would be ordered to wear masks during early voting.
“The decision was made not just for the poll workers’ health and well-being but the health and well-being of others around them.”
Comal County Democratic Chair Gloria Meehan, who lives in Canyon Lake, said all Democratic poll workers will wear personal protective equipment tomorrow, and urged all voters to protect themselves and those working to ensure voting proceeds smoothly.
“This isn’t about you, this is about the community and caring about the people around you,” she said.
Roxanna Deane, president of the Comal LWV, said her organization, which is committed to helping voters cast informed votes at the polls, had hoped voters could have voted by mail.
“The League is very concerned about the danger of COVID-19 exposure in the polling place and worked hard with other partners in asking the governor and the Texas secretary of state to interpret the guidelines for mail-in ballots to cover people who feel they risk their health by in-person voting,” she said in an email. “We are disappointed that this did not happen. We will continue to push this issue for the general election.”
Voters Describe Their Experiences
MyCanyonLake.com reached out to both Democratic and Republican party leaders to hear what their members thought about precautions the county is taking to protect voters concerned about catching COVID-19. Also queried were other area voters willing to talk on-the-record about their experiences during early voting.
Republican County Chair Sue Piner said she would email party members involved with the election process. None responded, although Piner briefly compared the primary runoff voting experience to being in a “space ship.” Meehan provided the names of early voters in her party.
They were asked whether they felt safe with protective measures announced in June by Jaqua. Those include plexiglass shields, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, disposable styluses and finger cots.
“We are training our poll workers on best practices to ensure that participating in our democracy does not compromise anyone’s health,” she said.
Trendy Sharp, who works for a Comal County non-profit advocacy group but lives on the Guadalupe County side of New Braunfels:
“I voted in Guadalupe County at Grace Church. These ladies took everything really seriously and they were wonderful. They were careful from the moment I walked up. Someone was holding the door, they all had masks on…it was pretty touchless. Everyone was very careful about social distancing, everyone had masks on. It was very careful and calm and it went very quickly.”
Molly Madden Bursey, state elections lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who voted at Comal County Elections Center in New Braunfels:
“I was the only voter there. But when I approached there was a man standing in the doorway, working the polls. He had on an American flag-face mask and a Texas flag shirt. I stood back to give him a chance to get out of the doorway. I tried to tell him that and he didn’t move. ‘I said, do you mind stepping back,’ and he said, ‘Do you have a cellphone.’ I said ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Turn it off’ and I turned it off. He said, ‘do you have your ID?’ and I said, ‘I do, it’s in my pocket’ and asked him to step back. He just kind of backed inside the doorway. I try to be really courteous during these times, and as safe as I can and move as far away from people as I can, and he didn’t do that. As I walked past he said, ‘you’re going to be a lot closer to people when you go inside.'”
Bursey said the rest of the voting process proceeded smoothly — “the whole thing took about four minutes, maybe.”
John Porter, artist manager and administrator of the popular New Braunfels for Beto Facebook page, who early-voted at the Comal County Election Headquarters, which he calls “voter suppression headquarters since they wouldn’t let me vote by mail”:
“I was worried because I take care of an 88-year-old and a 90-year-old and I don’t want them to get sick…It was a really good experience. I’ve never been in and out as fast as I have.
Maureen Schein, resource director of the CRRC also described the voting experience at the CRRC as seamless and positive.
“Sure, the poll workers had to be nice. But the voters have all been kind. No one has made a stink about wearing a mask to vote. I’ve heard of things like this happening elsewhere. There were a few voters who didn’t wear masks and were apologetic, not making a statement. They were allowed to vote. All of the poll workers wear their masks the entire shift.
“The new voting machines were very easy to use. The check-in process only required your Texas driver’s license. You place it upside down, with the bar code toward you, on this little machine and it tells them where you live, what precinct you’re in.”
James Nichols, voted at the CRRC
“I voted there and it was not a problem, I wore my mask, maintained social distancing and it was in and out.
Tracy Snider Slough, whose husband Mike works at the CRRC and watched others vote:
“Walk right in, vote. No problem.”