Early vote total in Harris County was record 792,000
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- At early voting locations all over our area, lines of voters stretched around buildings long after the 7pm deadline for voters to get in line.
As Houstonians shuffled out of work Friday, many planned to get a jump on Tuesday's election by casting their ballot on the last day of early voting.
It seemed like a good idea, but a lot of people shared it, and some wonder why more wasn't done to expedite the process.
"Absolutely unprepared for this. There are no parking spaces inside the voting facility," early voter Tomaro Bell said. "The parking lot across the street, it took me 10 minutes of circling to find an empty space only to get over here and find out that there is a two-hour wait."
People were guaranteed to vote if they made it in line by 7pm, and a constable stood watch to make sure no one else tried to sneak in line after that deadline.
"The official time will be seven o'clock. We got 39 seconds left and that will be the last person," Constable Christine Barrientz said.
Early voting in Harris County is record-setting.
In the 2008 presidential election, 678,000 voted early. It was a record then.
But this year, the early vote total in Harris County broke that record by 114,000 votes with a record 792,000 people.
If you weren't one of the more than 13 million Texans who voted early, don't worry. In Texas, you have the legal right to take time off of work on Election Day Tuesday to vote.
Polls will be open from 7am to 7pm. State law dictates that if polls aren't open for two consecutive hours before or after you shift, your employer is required to give you paid time off to go cast your ballot. Employers who don't can be cited for a Class C misdemeanor and charged a fine of up to $500.
local, erik barajas
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