Today, Harris County became the largest county in the country to implement countywide polling, according to Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley approved the county’s application to implement the new program, making Harris one of six Texas counties with a population of more than 100,000 to have it.

The program first came about during the 79th legislature. Then-State Rep. Mary Denny filed House Bill 758 which added a section to the Texas Election Code paving a way for a countywide polling program. Lubbock County was the first to implement it in 2006 and now there are 52 Texas counties that rolled out the program.

“With over 2 million registered voters, this makes Harris County the largest county in the country to implement this program. The state program allows eligible counties to establish non-precinct based Election Day Voting Centers,” read an email from Trautman.

The program is similar to the early voting process. Harris County residents will have the ability to vote at any precinct location across the county on Election Day. However, the county will monitor “voting patterns” over several election and then determine voter needs and possibly consolidate locations.

“The Countywide Polling Place Program will allow more Houstonians to exercise their most precious right, the right to vote,” said Trautman in a statement.

The first test of the new program will be in just two short months for the May 4, 2019 joint election for municipalities around the county.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.