Skip to Content

El Paso County looking for voting solutions in 2016 and beyond

El Paso County Election Administrator Lisa Wise has been in her current position for just about 10 months and has had to react to some strange voting patterns so far this year.

“We had close to 30,000 early voters, and then we had almost double that on election day,” Wise said. “That’s rare in presidential years. So I do believe that a lot of people waited until the last minute, the last day, Election Day obviously, just based on the numbers, and then we saw a huge influx in voters after work.”

And with a lot more coming this election year, including runoffs, special elections and of course the presidential election in November, some changes are going to be necessary.

“I hate to hear that voters left because lines were too long,” Wise said. “And we’re really going to do – we’re really going to work with our judges during training on how to handle long lines. Obviously with November coming up, how to handle crowds better, the locations we know had large crowds, really push early voting, for voters to take advantage of that time.”

Considering that El Paso County historically has low voter turnout rates, and with these problems at the polls, what’s there to draw people out to vote?

Wise said that there are big new initiatives in the works, including election day voting centers. Instead of having to find your specific precinct, anyone could go to these centers, just like in early voting.

“A lot of the calls we got after 4 p.m. were people who had gone to their polling site from their address from four years ago or were going to their new polling site and had to go to their old one, and hadn’t changed for four years,” Wise said. “We have a lot of voters that only vote every four years. That happens in presidential years. So a lot changes in that four year block. And I think looking forward, going toward something like voting centers, and giving people the option to go to any location.”

Wise said that a rollout of the new Election Day voting centers is being worked on for 2017. That’s partially out of concern that changing polling places could confuse voters during a presidential election year. So while it won’t be ready for 2016, it could be promising for the future of voting in the Borderland.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content