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El Paso County to change early mobile voting sites

Published On: Jan 13 2014 05:35:08 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 16 2014 09:27:14 PM CST

El Paso County to change early mobile voting sites

EL PASO, Texas -

Early voters might need to find a new place to cast their ballots in the upcoming El Paso County elections.

Voters can still vote at the standard early voting locations. But county commissioners said Monday that the mobile sites used in past elections might invite a biased voting pool.

Commissioners want to get away from using churches, medical facilities and credit unions. They fear the privately operated mobile voting sites could draw a partisan voting base and sway elections.

"I think it can have an impact," said Precinct Three Commissioner Patrick Abeln. "When you look at the number of voters that we have in El Paso, it's a very small number. I wish we had a lot more people that turned out than do. So I think a location that's not content-neutral could have an impact, absolutely."

Commissioners approved plans Monday to stick with city buildings like recreation centers and libraries. One key was making sure the mobile sites are near public transit routes.

"We want to make sure all our voters have transportation," said Elections Administrator Javier Chacon. "They have to use public transportation to get to these locations, and that's why it's important that we make sure that there is a bus stop or a public transportation that is going by near for the public to use."

Early polls are open Feb. 18 to 28. Election day is March 4.

"People still have their own mind and the way they want to vote," Chacon said. "So far the sites that we have used in the past have been very good, and we have had no concerns -- no problems with them."

The court will meet Thursday to approve one final mobile site, with a simple goal in mind.

"I'd like to see sights last a long time," Abeln said. "So when the public gets used to some place, that's where they go, and it reoccurs year after year. So that we don't have to suddenly say, 'Where do I vote now?'"


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