The Lamar County Commissioners’ Court on Monday extended a COVID-19-related emergency declaration 30 days and gave approval for the reduction of the number of polling locations in the Nov. 3 general election.
“There were no changes in the declaration, just a 30-day extension,” Lamar County Judge Brandon Bell said after the sparsely attended meeting at Lamar County Courthouse.
Bell issued the declaration May 19, and called for residents to stay at home and avoid large groups.
“We are asking that you sit at home on your couch for a couple of weeks,” Bell said in a statement accompanying the emergency declaration. “I think everyone will take the necessary precautions, and we will be back to normal and prospering in no time.”
In other action Monday, Lamar County Elections Officer Tricia Johnson requested and received approval to reduce polling locations from 32 to 26 for the Nov. 3 general election.
“The county has always had all 32 polling locations open in our general election,” Johnson said in an email after the meeting. “The parties chose to consolidate during the primaries down to 26, which makes sense, works great and is less confusing for voters.”
Johnson said she approached commissioners at this time because of the proclamation issued March 18 by Gov. Greg Abbott that suspended the Texas Election Code to allow municipalities and school districts to delay local elections from May to November because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I needed to make sure we could accommodate city and school elections with equipment because if not they’d be hand counting because we just don’t have enough to provide everyone,” Johnson said. “But no fear, the court agreed to the consolidation, so we’re good.”