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What Women Need to Know This Election

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Get out the vote: What women need to know this election.

By Meagan Leahy, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer

Early voting runs through Nov. 2.

Early voting is available for any eligible voter that does not enjoy waiting in line to vote. Early voting runs through Nov. 2. Early voting stations are open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Election Day is Nov. 6 and all 143 polling locations in Travis County will be open that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Travis County has 143 polling locations open on Election Day. 

There are 29 early voting locations and 143 polling locations open on Election Day in Travis County. Many of these polling stations are located at public schools, grocery stores and public buildings, such as public libraries and city halls. To find a list of all the early voting and Election Day voting locations in Travis County, visit traviscountyclerk.org. In an effort to simplify the voting process, Travis County allows any eligible Travis County voter to vote in any precinct. This means if you see a polling station in Travis County and you’re registered to vote in Travis County, you can vote there.

No voting-booth selfies. 

There are a few activities not permitted when you are within 100 feet of a polling location. While you can bring printed voters guides or notes into the voting booth, you may not use your cellphone. That means no voting-booth selfies. You may not bring a gun within 100 feet, nor may you electioneer for or against a candidate within 100 feet. This includes wearing clothing or accessories with campaign slogans endorsing a particular candidate.

Consult a voting guide. 

For the upcoming election, consult a guide to ease the decision process. The League of Women Voters provides a thorough voters guide to the election process, including information about candidates and the voting process, at lwvaustin.org and vote411.org.

Bring your ID. 

To vote in the upcoming election, you will need to provide proof of identification in some way. According to votetexas.gov, there are seven acceptable forms of photo ID, including a Texas driver’s license, a Texas personal identification card and a United States passport. If you don’t have one of the seven accepted forms of ID and can’t obtain one, you can provide a supporting form of ID, such as a certified birth certificate, a voter-registration certificate or a copy of a current utility bill.

It’s been 22 years since Texas has elected a female into the U.S. Congress. 

Currently, Texas women hold just three of the state’s 38 congressional seats. The most recent woman was elected in 1996, making it 22 years since Texas has elected a female into the U.S. Congress. According to Politico, the number of women running for Congress has doubled since 2016, jumping from 10 in 2016 to 20 female candidates in the 2018 general election. This puts Texas in a position to add two to four new female members to its congressional delegation.

Increased voter turnout can increase minority representation. 

Local elections have long seemed to be less intriguing to Texas voters than national contests. According to The Daily Texan, Travis County voter turnout dropped from 65 percent to 13 percent between the 2016 presidential election and the 2017 local election, representing a 52 percent dip. When a large majority of the population fails to vote in local elections, the few who do vote have much more political clout. The lesson: Increased voter turnout can also increase minority representation.

I Voted’ stickers debuted in the early 1980s. 

“I voted” stickers have become a staple at the polls, and “I voted” sticker selfies are found in endless supply during elections. According to Time, the stickers surfaced sometime in the early 1980s. The stickers seem to foster a sense of pride among voters and bring a feeling of community to a solitary act. Donning the stickers has been known to get voters free food, such as doughnuts, cookies and drinks, at certain locations.

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