Vote Center FAQ

What are vote centers?
“Vote centers” is a popular term that is used to define a method of voting where a voter can cast their vote at any Election Day polling location instead of just the one that is assigned to their voting precinct. In Texas, the correct terminology is “countywide voting program,” but “vote centers” is commonly used interchangeably.

Traditionally, and still the current method in Denton County, during the early voting period a voter can cast their vote at any early voting location in the county. On Election Day, the voter MUST cast their vote in the polling location that is assigned to their voter precinct; that is the only location they can vote in and have their vote count.

In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed HB 719, which authorized the Countywide Polling Place Program (vote centers). Voters whose counties participate in the program are allowed to vote at any polling location instead of being restricted to one location (exactly like early voting works).

Why does Denton County not use vote centers?
Until the past legislative session (2021), it was a requirement that any county that participated in the countywide polling program have exclusive use of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system at all polling places. In other words, the voting system had to be all electronic; no paper.

Since Denton County has had a paper-based system since 2017, we were prohibited from participation as a vote center county. The 2021 legislative session rectified that by adding hand-marked paper ballots that are printed in the polling location as an acceptable method of voting for the program. In order to participate, Denton County will have to make application to the State following the guidelines set out in Texas Election Code Section 43.007.

What are the steps to becoming a vote center county?
  • File an intent to participate in the program with the Secretary of State
  • Demonstrate that our voting system meets participation criteria, and that we use electronic poll books that are connected to the internet
  • Make application to the Secretary of State
  • Hold a public hearing in Commissioners Court to take input from voters, minority organizations, and other interested parties (political parties, political subdivision and organization representing voters with disabilities) and submit a transcript or recording of same with the application
  • Explain the methodology of selecting polling locations, including maps
  • Explain the methodology used to select Election Judges and Alternate Election Judges
  • Create a communication plan to inform voters
  • Make a statement that joint election issues have been resolved, and
  • Demonstrate that the Commissioners Court and the party county chairs have resolved how each polling place official will be appointed.

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