Voting In Grand Prairie Precinct Delayed By Death Of Election Judge | KERA News

Voting In Grand Prairie Precinct Delayed By Death Of Election Judge

Election Day in Texas hasn't been without issues at the polls. At a high school in Richmond, near Houston, machine problems reportedly caused dozens of people to leave without voting. KERA has received reports of long lines, last-minute polling station changes and some voter ID confusion. 

At one precinct in Grand Prairie, voting was delayed by a death.

Voters were lined up and ready to vote bright and early at Betty Warmack Library in Grand Prairie. But as the clock ticked past 7, when the polls were opening elsewhere, the doors at this library stayed closed.

"We had an election judge that didn't open the polls at 7 o'clock," says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "We did a check at that person's house and discovered that that person had died."

Gary Cox was the long-time election judge for Precinct 4502. A Grand Prairie Police spokesman said the 60-year-old was found dead in his apartment.

Report your voting issues by texting TXDECIDES to 69866. Read more about KERA's partnership with ProPublica and Electionland. 

Meanwhile, at the library, voters continued to arrive. The polls finally opened more than an hour late, once an alternate judge arrived. Because of the delay, voters at that particular precinct will have until 9 o’clock to cast a ballot.

There’s one caveat: Anyone who arrives after 7 will have to cast a provisional ballot. Jenkins says he expects those votes will be counted just the same.

"To be absolutely certain, voters should try to get there and be in line before 7 o'clock," says Jenkins. "It's best everywhere to vote earlier today. The lines start forming around 4 p.m., so if you can vote before 4, that's usually better. The longer you wait the longer the line can be."

For pretty much every other precinct in Texas, folks have to be in line to vote by 7 if they want cast a vote.

Note: As part of KERA News' partnership with Electionland, reporter Stephanie Kuo and statewide coordinating editor Rachel Osier Lindley are covering voting issues during the Nov. 8 election. If you'd like to talk to someone about your experience at the polls, email skuo@kera.org and rlindley@kera.org.