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Waco green-lights May 2 elections despite coronavirus concerns

The city said they are monitoring the situation and will make accommodations at polling locations to prevent the spread of the virus.

The city of Waco is moving forward with their May 2 elections despite concerns about the coronavirus.

In a press release city officials said they continue to assess the COVID-19 situation, and if they believe they cannot conduct a safe and fair election on May 2, they will postpone the election. 

Mayoral Candidate David Morrow thinks this is a big mistake. 

"I think it's dangerous to have an election where people won’t be able to come out to vote," Morrow said. 

The city will hold a general election for mayor and council members while Waco ISD will hold one for school board members. 

"I don’t think we want to risk the health and safety of people for what is relatively a minor election," Morrow said. 

Hope Balfa-Mustakim is running for a position on the school board, and she also feels the coronavirus outbreak is more than enough reason to postpone. 

"It doesn’t make sense that you would tell everyone to stay home then tell everyone to come out and vote as early as April 20," Balfa-Mustakim said. 

Both candidates said they fear for the elderly the age group with typically the highest voter turnout. They also said postponing will have an impact on their campaign but, they insist the health of the people is more important. 

"I’m a mom of two littles both in Waco ISD," Balfa-Mustakim said. “I told them this will be over in a few weeks now I tell them this may be over in eight months, and that’s a sacrifice we are willing to make because we believe in the democratic process where everyone can come out to vote safely." 

Coronavirus concerns have caused Governor Greg Abbott to postpone the May 26 Primary runoff election to July 14. 

Although the City of Waco said they are currently not considering postponing the May 2 election, a release from city indicated they are taking precautions to "make sure the elections are safe" like:

  • Having voting centers in large rooms where social distancing between voting machines, between voters, and between poll workers and election judges can be followed
  • Discouraging normal workers and election judges who are over 65 from working this election – they say they will recruit and train others who are not at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to work as poll workers and election judges
  • Developing a safe and sanitary method of verifying voter IDs and distributing voting codes
  • Sanitizing each machine after each voter casts their vote
  • Urging anyone 65 years of age or older, or who has a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at a polling place without a likelihood of injuring the voter's health, to vote by mail.

Here is the link to download an application to vote by mail in English and in Spanish. Mail-in ballots must be received - not postmarked - by April 20.

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