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Moore County Clerk Brenda McKanna demonstrates the new hand sanitizer dispensers that will be at both polling places during early voting for the November 3 general election.  "You just put your hands under it, and it gives you sanitizer. … You don't have to touch anything."

Early voting in person for the November 3 general election begins Tuesday, October 13, at 8:00 am.  Voters have an extra week to cast ballots early this year.  In July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order under the emergency powers he has exercised during the COVID crisis and extended early, in-person voting from two to three weeks for this election.  A lawsuit brought by several Republican Party officials to stop the added week failed Wednesday when the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the governor.  

According to Moore County Clerk Brenda McKanna, whose office is conducting a joint election for all the entities of the county, Moore County voters from all precincts have the option of voting early and in person in either the 1st Street Annex at 301 East 1st Street in Dumas or Sunray City Hall at 405 Main Street in Sunray.

McKanna says it was the cancellation due to COVID of the May 2 election that led to this being a joint election with a joint ballot.  In addition to the national and state races, there are local races in the various cities and school districts of the county. She said voters from Dumas, Sunray, Cactus, Fritch, and the county will receive a ballot "style" that reflects the races for which the voter, based on where he or she lives, is eligible to vote.

Voters wishing to vote in person will have to have a valid form of photo identification such as a driver's license, passport, military identification, or other.  A  full list of acceptable identification documents can be found at votetexas.gov or call the Moore County Clerk at 935-2009.

McKanna says appropriate precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID during voting.  "We will have sanitation stations set up.  We have screen barriers set up, distancing set up.  We are trying to do everything possible to protect the health of the voters and my workers."  One new feature will be a hand sanitizer dispenser at each polling place that doesn't require the voter to touch anything.  "You just put your hands under it, and it gives you sanitizer," she said.  She added she recommends wearing a mask, but she cannot require voters to do so.

For voters who feel unwell or who are unable to leave their vehicle, McKanna says curbside voting will be available.  Curbside voting is especially recommended for those with the signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  The voter wishing to cast a ballot curbside just needs to call 935-2009 or 934-7163 and a poll worker will respond.

The two polling places will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Friday from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm.  McKanna says there will be two 12-hour voting days: Thursday, October 22 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Thursday, October 29 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.  Early voting in person ends October 30.

Early voting by mail is currently underway.  McKanna says she has already sent out over 300 ballots.  Early voting by mail is only available to those disabled, over 65 years of age, in jail but eligible to vote, or expecting to be away during the election and regular early voting.  McKanna says that there is only one drop-off point for ballot-by-mail voters who do not choose to send their ballot by mail: room 107 of the Moore county Courthouse.  The voter must personally drop the completed ballot off and must have a valid photo identification.  The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Friday, October 23.  Ballots must be returned by November 3 or November 4, if postmarked November 3.

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