Texans living in nursing homes will have a new way to vote in this November’s election. But then that method will go away. Texas lawmakers earlier this year passed a bill that requires, when five or more absentee ballots are requested by residents at facilities such as nursing homes, election judges for both parties to deliver the ballots — and oversee the voting on them — during the early voting period. “We post a notice of the day we are going to come,” said Stephen Vickers, Tarrant County’s elections administrator. “Then we have to send out a team of judges and ballots. They do the process there so they don’t have to mail it.” The goal of this law, House Bill 658, was to make sure no one influences these Texans’ votes. But election officials complained that this is a massive unfunded mandate.
“I think there are around 206 nursing homes in Tarrant County,” Vickers said. “If I had to print ballots and send a crew out to every one of those, with the time and the cost, .. that would kill my budget.”
Lawmakers understood the problem and, during the special session, they repealed the nursing home law.
But that change doesn’t go into effect until Dec. 1. So the Nov. 7 election is the only one election judges will be required to personally be at nursing homes for early voting.