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Tuesday last day to register to vote in Midterm Election

The Midterm Elections feature a surprisingly close race between Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Republican Incumbent Senator Ted Cruz.

Both parties calling for people to get to the polls, and now The El Paso County Elections Department plans on being ready.

Many people who have registered to vote on online sites like Vote.Org, may not be registered to vote at all. Lisa Wise, the El Paso County Elections Administrator told ABC 7 that those types of sites will not work for Texas voters saying, “For the State of Texas the Texas Secretary of State will not take an electronic signature on that application.”

You must instead, print the form, fill it out and turn it into the Elections Department Office which is in the County Courthouse. Wise said if you don’t have a printer, “there are a bunch of things you can do, one you can either come to our office at the courthouse, you can mail your registration application in or you can pick up a form at a post office or public library.” Then fill the form out, sign it, and turn it in.

This year will be a completely different experience as people head to their polling sites to vote, as The El Paso County Elections Department is showcasing a brand new, digital check in process to help people spend less time at the polls.

It’s Called an Electronic Poll Pad. It’s a completely digital way for voters to check in at the polls. It features an iPad that you can insert your ID or drivers license into. The system then recognizes the information, matches the information with their voter registration, and digitalizes the information onto a voter card.

Voters can then take that voter card, along with their voter receipt, and go to the voting booth to vote.

Melissa Rosales, the Elections Coordinator with the El Paso County Elections Department told ABC 7 that this new digital check in process with the Electronic Poll Pads, reduces the voting check in time from minutes to mere seconds.

Melissa said, “We should have 200 to 300 poll pads. We are going to have two to three Poll Pads per location. We are going to have poll pads at every single voting site.” Melissa said that there are up to 149 polling sites that will have the new Poll Pads. The new Poll Pads will be used in El Paso County.

Melissa told ABC 7, that after the card is used to vote, you hand it back to a polling officer, then the information on the card is erased, and the card is recycled.

The faster process may be greatly needed this year because voter registration is rising. Bob Moore, the former Executive Editor for the El Paso Times told ABC 7 that 52,000 new voter registrations have occurred since the last general election, and that is here in El Paso County.

He said, “I wanted to know who had registered to vote after the last general election in 2016. There were 52,390 such people, or about one in every nine registered voters.”

Moore said there were more men (26,697) than women (25,511) among newly registered voters. He told ABC, “This surprised me a little for a couple reasons. Women have long outnumbered men among El Paso registered voters, and much of the attention since 2016 has focused on the mobilization of women.”

Moore also said that more than half of the newly registered voters (29,377) are under 30, including 22,638 under 25. He wasn’t surprised by those numbers, but still thinks the trend is interesting, saying “History shows that younger people are far less likely to cast a ballot than older generations. So it will be interesting to see whether these newly registered younger voters actually participate in November. I will be able to track that throughout early voting, and then again after Election Day.”

The deadline to register to vote is October 9th. Check if you’re registered here.

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