Last night, voters across Texas showed up to cast their votes for the 2020 primary elections. Unfortunately voters at Texas Southern University were met with excessive wait times that kept residents there until 1:30 am. Thankfully, countless Harris County residents still persevered through six hour lines to vote, but we need to address why this happened and come to a solution that keeps polling places moving and voters voting.
Harris County holds separate elections for Democratic and Republican primaries, which means voters are only allowed to use machines reserved for their own party, despite others potentially being open. This, combined with a number of voting machines failing due to 20-year old technology and an unexpectedly large Democratic turnout, contributed to the excessive wait times residents endured last night.
County officials and polling locations must all work together to address these flaws so that everyone has a reasonable opportunity to vote. Standing in line at a polling location for over six hours is next to impossible for most residents and no one should be asked to do so to exercise a critical right.
Hervis Rogers, the last voter at Texas Southern University’s polling location, had the following to say as he left…
“I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion… I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.”
Democracy lives and breathes with active participation in elections. It is imperative we do everything in our power to ensure all voices are represented and residents are given a fair chance to vote.
Photo courtesy of Houston Public Media.