(rawpixel.com/Adobe)

Fifteen people set to work during the July 14 election, including two election judges, have quit due to fears about the coronavirus pandemic, the Travis County Clerk's office confirmed.


The office has a backup plan in place and has created an on-call list for poll workers in case there are any dropouts, a spokesperson wrote in an email.

Other counties in Texas are seeing the same thing—Bexar County is expected to close eight polling locations due to lack of staff.

Despite—or perhaps because of—the pandemic, voters are turning out in record-breaking numbers for a primary runoff election, but they are not required by the governor to wear masks at all times while doing so.

As of Thursday evening, 63,701 people had voted early and 15,801 had voted by mail-in ballot—for a total of about 10% of the county's registered voters.

This is already double the typical turnout for a primary runoff election, which County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir said is typically around 5%.

Early voting ends today at 7 p.m. Election Day is Tuesday, July 14.

Brian Smith, a professor of political science at St. Edward's University, told Austonia that generally speaking runoff elections see "low turnout, low mail-in ballot participation and low excitement."

He attributed turnout to urgency among voters and a high-profile runoff between Democrats to determine who will face off against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in November.

"This is going to be a learning experience for Texas because we don't know what the fall is going to hold," Smith said.

(Roschetzky Photography/Adobe)

To help make sense of all the information emerging about COVID-19 in Austin, we're answering a few big questions:

Keep Reading Show less
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate MJ Hegar raised $13.5 million in the third quarter.

By Patrick Svitek

MJ Hegar, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, announced Wednesday that she raised over $13.5 million in the third quarter, a massive improvement over her previous hauls.

Keep Reading Show less

A model walks during the fall 2019 Nefrfreshr show at Austin Fashion Week.

Austin Fashion Week is taking a page out New York Fashion Week's book and going online this year. After all, if New York Fashion Week can survive online showcases, why can't Austin's?
Keep Reading Show less

Pumpkin carving is considered a low risk Halloween activity by the CDC.

As temperatures drop below 100 degrees, fall and winter holidays are on the mind. However, with COVID-19 still rearing its head, the question remains: is it safe to gather for the holidays this year?

Keep Reading Show less
youtu.be
Make Me Feel by Jackie Venson (Live Performance and Lyric Video)

Austin native and musician Jackie Venson broke 1.5 million live streams during her summer concert series, ranking ninth on Pollstar's Top 50 Livestreamers list for Q3.

Keep Reading Show less
(jiawangkun/Adobe)

UT Austin announced this week that it is planning for a spring semester structured "in much the same way" as the current term.

Just over a month into the fall semester, the University of Texas at Austin announced that it plans to structure the spring semester "in much the same way," according to a community-wide email sent by President Jay Hartzell.

Keep Reading Show less
(Pexels)

Austin ISD will return to in-person learning on Monday, Oct. 5.

As Austin ISD prepares to join other area school districts in reopening for in-person learning, local health authorities said data shows transmission in school settings is mostly limited to extracurricular activities, such as football, cheerleading and band.

Keep Reading Show less