Polls opened for the final day of voting in midterm elections this morning, and not long after, 35 new American citizens had the opportunity to cast their first ballots.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services held a citizenship ceremony at the University of North Texas at Dallas, where new citizens from 17 different countries took their oath of citizenship before an audience of family members, USCIS directors, consul generals from various countries, University of North Texas system Chancellor Michael R. Williams, and UNT Dallas President Bob Mong.
It was just one of the scenes we encountered on Election Day. Most polling places were brisk and steady experiences. There were slight hiccups at others; Kidd Springs Recreation Center had some technical issues. There were lines at places like the Oak Lawn library branch and Fretz Park, which saw an influx of voters eager to be present for a visit from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.
According to Oak Lawn Library Branch election judge David Fisher, the wait was about an hour in the morning, but by noon or so it had slowed to about 10 to 20 minutes. However, election workers were dealing with a malfunctioning HVAC unit, which made the room quite warm. Fisher, who was sweating profusely as he ran around making sure things were running properly, said that people should know that there is probably a polling location within a mile of their preference if they find a line and can’t wait.
“I keep telling people there’s no wait just a little bit further up Cedar Springs,” he said, referring to the nearby Reverchon Park.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said on Twitter that 196,000 voters had cast a ballot as of 6:30 p.m. Between early voting and mail-in ballots, 411,270 had voted in Dallas County prior to Election Day, out of 1,424,971 registered voters.
Sisters Naomi and Kiabeth Borrego, who braved the line at Oak Lawn, said they were regular voters but they each had different reasons for waiting until today to vote. Naomi said that her work schedule didn’t make it convenient to vote early.
“I wanted to get a little more in-depth on who was actually running and clarify everything before I actually voted,” Kiabeth said.
Both said that finding reliable information about the candidates and issues seemed to be more difficult for this election.
“I think it makes it a little more complicated because now people look more in-depth into who the person is, versus what they’re wanting to change,” Naomi said.
And while they routinely vote, the sisters said they felt more of an obligation to encourage their friends and family to vote in this election. “It was definitely important to us to make sure that our friends and family voted, and we definitely got more involved with making sure people voted because of this type of election,” Naomi said.
We’ll update with results as they become final. If you’d like to talk about Election Day as the returns come in, follow me on Twitter, and enjoy this gallery of scenes from the day.