Dallas County Breaks Record for First Day of Early Voting

After a record-breaking day of early voting, what will the second day hold? We have yesterday’s numbers, as well as some tips for avoiding long lines, in today’s bullet points.

  • Dallas County breaks record for first day of early voting;
  • Jenkins says positive cases are increasing;
  • Dallas ISD seeks male mentors.
Dallas County Breaks Record for First Day of Early Voting

While the numbers weren’t updated on the Dallas County elections website as of this writing, we do have an idea of how many voted yesterday, thanks to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who tweeted updates as tallies came in yesterday evening.

According to Jenkins, 59,809 voted on the first day of early voting, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 – 58,775. 

For some locations, readers reported a quick in and out, but in most of the neighborhood locations in or near Park Cities and Preston Hollow – Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, University Park United Methodist Church, Oak Lawn Library, and Marsh Lane Baptist Church – lines were long, and some readers reported waiting up to three hours or more to vote.

In 2014, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration said that “as a general rule, no voter should have to wait more than half an hour in order to have an opportunity to vote.”

However, we didn’t have a pandemic in 2014, nor did we have a shortage of election workers because of that pandemic, leaving counties short-staffed and forced to eliminate polling locations.

Don’t have time for a line? The county has a polling location map that provides wait times for most polling locations. Another tip: Statistically, most early voters vote the first two days and the two last days of early voting – so try a non-peak time (avoid 7-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.,, and 5:30-7 p.m.) and avoid those four days, and you likely will find yourself standing in a much shorter line. 

Jenkins Says Positive Cases Are Increasing

Dallas County health officials reported 638 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, for a cumulative total of 87,381 confirmed cases, and 1,057 deaths. 

There were 32 probable cases, and 606 confirmed cases, and 328 came from the state’s electronic system, with nine coming from older months.

One death was reported – a Dallas man in his 50s with underlying high-risk health conditions.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 351 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 17% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council. To compare, a week ago there were 242 patients. 

“Today we see a large increase in the number of new COVID-19 positive cases,” said Jenkins. “Remember that we are looking for weekly trends and not one day spikes; however, we saw the release of CDC week 40 in the Dallas County Health and Human Services summary report which was yet another increase in the number of positive cases. Our hospitalizations and ED visits are continuing to go up in the region and here in Dallas County and we are seeing a CDC week 40 climb in the number of children ages 5-17 who are contracting COVID-19 as well.”

Jenkins added that “overall our schools are doing a good job with infection prevention,” but cautioned families to continue to make good choices so that the numbers can flatten before the holidays.

“Unfortunately, we are currently going in the wrong direction but I know together we can turn it around and get to a better place for the fall,” he said.

Dallas ISD reported a total of 189 cases by Tuesday afternoon, up from 126 last Friday. Of that 189,  84 are campus staff, nine are central staff, and 96 are students. 

Walnut Hill Elementary has 10 cases, Thomas Jefferson HIgh School has eight cases, Sudie Williams Talented and Gifted has one case, Marsh Middle School has one case, W.T. White High School has one case, Pershing Elementary has one case, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has two cases, and Hillcrest High School has four cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting no staff cases and 13 student cases. So far 10 staffers and 53 students have been cleared to return to class. 

Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined for 14 days due to classroom exposure to the virus.

Dallas ISD Seeks Male Mentors

Dallas ISD is seeking male mentors, and is holding a “virtual” draft to find them. 

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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