It’s finally Election Day. Here’s What to expect when casting a ballot

Sara Schleede

Campaigns are coming to a close and early voting has come and gone, but students still have one more day to cast their votes in the midterm elections.

To vote, students must bring one of seven forms of photo ID, such as a Texas Driver’s License or U.S. Passport. Kassie Barroquillo, TX Votes program coordinator, said students can also print and fill out a sample ballot to bring with them to the polls.

Polling locations across Travis County will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Students can vote at the Flawn Academic Center or the Perry-Castañeda Library on campus. A student-led initiative added the second on-campus polling location at the PCL on Sept. 18 to reduce wait times, but Barroquillo said students should still prepare for long lines. 

The Travis County Clerk’s website and the voting information app BeVote offer a polling location map with estimated wait times. Jacob Springer, chief volunteer deputy registrar for TX Votes, said lunchtime and around 5 p.m. can be the busiest times to vote. “While a lot of people already voted this midterm cycle, there will be a lot of energy around voting,” said Springer, political communications and government sophomore. “Give yourself enough time to vote. Don’t show up at the prime times if you can avoid it.” 

There are also off-campus options, and Barroquillo said students registered in Travis County can vote anywhere in the county no matter their congressional district. 

Those in North Campus can vote at the Red River Church or the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services Building. The Senior Activity Center — Lamar is available to West Campus voters, and students in Riverside can visit the Parker Lane United Methodist Church or Dan Ruiz Branch Library. A complete list of Travis County’s 143 polling locations can be found on the county clerk’s website. 

CapMetro is offering free rides on all MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress, MetroRail and MetroAccess services on Election Day, and Lyft is offering free and reduced rides to polling locations. 

Straight ticket voters have reported opposing party candidates were accidentally picked on their ballots. The Texas Secretary of State’s office said this is due to voters pressing buttons or using the selection wheel while screens render. If submitting a straight ticket ballot, Barroquillo suggested reviewing each response before submitting. 

“Take your time,” Barroquillo said. “These machines are really old. Don’t expect (them) to be as fast as your cell phone.”

The League of Women Voters’ voter guide provides nonpartisan information on all Austin-area candidates and propositions. 

“You don’t want to have to spend all that time in the booth trying to read those propositions for the first time and figure out what you want to do with it,” Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir told KUT.