Voting: 2 tools to help avoid long wait times

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We can't predict just how many people will cast a ballot for the upcoming General Election in November, but we do know that Presidential Election cycles draw the largest voter turnouts. That's why we're encouraging folks to consider early voting, and to tap our online election applications to help make a trip to the polls go a little smoother. Remember, we use polling centers that registered voters in Collin County to cast a ballot at any location.

Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet says that his department has increased the number of polling centers in expectation of a high turnout, based on the county's steady population growth: "We're also encouraging voters to think about using the first week of the early voting period if they want to avoid long lines and save some time." 

Sherbet says that, based on 2008 and 2012 early voting turnouts, even early voting lines can get much longer as the 12-day period winds down and election day approaches. In fact, daily tallies from the Secetary of State's Elections Division for those years show that the number of daily votes cast can double in the second week of early voting.

Here's the short version of what's available:

Election Dashboard

Our election dashboards – for Early Voting and Election Day – can come in handy when you're ready to cast your ballot.

Type your address into the search box, and it gives you the closest polling location to your address, plus the route and travel time. It also throws in other nearby polling centers, where you can click on a locations and the map re-routes you and gives you as general wait time to vote.

Want to see what locations are on your way home or to work? Zoom out on the map from your address search to see polling centers along your commute.

Scroll down to the list of polling centers, where we've installed a "traffic light" on each location to estimate average wait times to cast ballots. A green light is less than 20 minutes to vote; yellow is 20-40 minutes, and red is a wait longer than 40 minutes.

At the polling stations

Should you show up at a polling center with a long line, we will post a QR Code at each location that, when scanned by your smart phone, direct you to other polling centers with shorter wait times. We can't tell you where go, but we can offer a convenient option should the volume of voters at one heavily-trafficked location being to lengthen wait times.

Some things to consider

  • The 2008 and 2012 elections here saw 67-70% of registered voters in this county cast ballots, -- about 300,000 folks each time.
  • Voter turnout in the last two presidential elections also showed that roughly 3 out of 4 folks who voted chose to cast their ballots during the early voting period, with around 80,000 people heading to the polls on Election Day.
  • This year, early voting runs from Oct. 24-Nov. 4 at some 34 polling centers scattered throughout the county, where residents can vote at any of the locations.  
  • Since the 2008 election, however, our registered voter rolls have grown considerably. We've added more than 81,000 additional voters to the rolls. That's equal to about half the entire population of our county seat, McKinney.
  • If turnout patterns from 2008 and 2012 continue, you can expect 80,000-90,000 people showing up to cast their votes during a 12-hour span at 73 polling centers on Nov. 8.
  • And, residents have until Oct. 11 to register, so voter rolls could grow.