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Nearly 200,000 Travis County residents have voted early in person since the polls opened on Oct. 13. With 12 days left before the early voting period ends on Oct. 30, and photos circulating on social media of long lines, Austonia has ranked the 37 local polling places by popularity.
The first four days of early voting saw successively higher turnout—growing from 35,873 on Tuesday to 41,265 on Friday—with a dropoff over the weekend, according to the Travis County Clerk's Office.
As of lunchtime Monday, more than 13,000 people had voted early.
Six days into the early voting period for the 2016 general election, 180,433 Travis County residents had voted early in person.
Voter turnout this election is already breaking local records.
The Travis County Clerk's Office reported 41,265 people voted early in person on Friday, a new local record.
Additionally, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said last week that her office had already received more than 78,000 mail-in ballot applications and expects that number to grow to around 100,000 by the Oct. 29 deadline. In comparison, her office sent out only 27,000 mail-in ballots ahead of the 2016 general election.
As of Sunday, DeBeauvoir's office had received 35,696 mail-in ballots for tallying.
In other record-setting news, more than 850,000 Travis County residents—of 97% of eligible voters—registered by the state's Oct. 5 deadline, according to the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant.
Around 78% of voting age Texans were registered to vote during the 2016 general election, according to the Texas Secretary of State's office. Of those, nearly 60% of registered voters turned out.
Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The following six sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28; Thursday, Oct. 29; and Friday, Oct. 30:
- Ben Hur Shrine Center
- Millennium Youth Complex
- PfISD Rock Gym
- South Park Meadows, Suite 400
- South Park Meadows, Suite 500
- Austin Central Library
Residents can find wait time estimates for each location here, whether they are registered to vote here, voter identification requirements in Texas here, their personal ballot here and some races to watch here.
Many local businesses are also encouraging voting by offering specials—from a free slice of pizza to a discounted pint—to those who bring in their "I voted" or "Yo voté" sticker.
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Matthew McConaughey is reportedly weighing a run for Texas governor in 2022.
The Austin resident and Oscar winner has been "quietly making calls to influential people in Texas political circles, including a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO" as he decides whether to run, according to Politico.
McConaughey said a gubernatorial run is "a true consideration" while on a March episode of Houston's "The Balanced Voice" podcast.
Although most political strategists doubt McConaughey's commitment and viability as a candidate, some are still intrigued by the possibility.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Karl Rove, a top Republican strategist with a long history in Austin, told the political news site. He added that the big question is whether McConaughey would run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.
Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, told Politico he's surprised McConaughey isn't being taken more seriously. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot," he said. "It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to run for a third term and remains popular among Republican voters, 77% of whom approve of his performance as of April, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Some strategists believe an independent McConaughey run would benefit Abbott. But a recent poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey would beat Abbott, 45% to 33%, with 22% opting for someone else.
Mimi Swartz, an executive editor at Texas Monthly, mulled a McConaughey run in a recent opinion essay from the New York Times. "Texas may not be ready for a philosopher king as a candidate, much less governor," she wrote. "May the best man win, man."
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Some JuiceLand production facility workers and storefront employees are organizing to demand wage increases, better working conditions (including air conditioning in the warehouse) and pay transparency, among other asks. They are also calling on staff to strike and customers to boycott the Austin-based company until their demands are met.
JuiceLand responded on Saturday. "We are listening," the company wrote on their Instagram story. "JuiceLand crew now makes guaranteed $15 an hour or more companywide."
JuiceLand, which was founded in 2001 by Matt Shook and now has 35 locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas, acknowledged the rising cost of living across Texas and the added stress of the pandemic in an email to employees on Saturday, part of which @juicelandworkersrights shared on social media. "There's no denying that times are tough and financial security means more now than ever," the company wrote.
Organized JuiceLand workers rejected this proposal, according to a recent post on the @juicelandworkersrights Instagram account, and reiterated their demands.
"Cost of living in Austin is rising exponentially and will only continue to get worse with the tech boom," the post read. "$15 is barely a sustainable living."