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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Travis County sets new record for registered voters
Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant clearly relishes the other part of his job: voter registration. The coronavirus has made it more difficult to register new voters this spring; yet Travis County has still set a new record with 828,127 registered voters, Elfant said Wednesday. He noted that the county added about 3,000 additional voters between the March 3 primary and June 15, the deadline for those who want to vote in the July 14 Democratic and Republican runoff elections. Elfant is expecting another 60,000 Travis County residents to register before the October deadline in order to vote in the November election. Right now he said his voter registration office is experiencing “a brisk business, mostly by mail.” In the past, deputy voter registrars would register people to vote by talking to them in public places, such as outside grocery stores, and going door to door in neighborhoods. Now Elfant and his deputy registrars have had to think up new ways to help people register. Currently, the deputies are checking each library that is open to make sure they have voter registration cards. In the next week or so, Elfant anticipates rolling out a text-to-register program. The last time they did that they got a lot of requests, but only about 25 percent of those who got the voter registration cards by mail actually registered to vote, he said. However, after the election they were happy to find out that 85 percent of those who did register through the text program cast ballots. Travis County residents may also fill out a voter registration application online and print it out.
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