This year’s presidential election is expected to draw more than twice as many voters as the local election of last year. With lingering memories of 1987’s long lines and ballot shortages, some voters may worry that doing their civic duty on November 8 could mean a long night.
Fear not, says Bruce Sherbet of the Dallas County Election Department. Since 1988 is a general election year, the county will provide 100 percent ballot allocation-a ballot for every one of our 825,000 registered voters. The problem last year, says Sherbet, was the unexpectedly high turnout. Traditionally, local elections draw about 12 percent to 13 percent of the state’s registered voters to the polls. But last year, more than 30 percent showed up. Some polling locations ran out of ballots and had voters wait for hours before more arrived, or allowed voters to scrawl their choices on handmade ballots. Some locations stayed open hours past closing time to give those who had shown up before 7 p.m. a chance to vote.
But with more than 70 percent of Dallas County’s registered voters expected to exercise their right this month, Sherbet says he is ready. “Last year my crystal ball fogged up.” he says. But in the future. Sherbet plans to supply ballots for at least 80 percent of registered voters during local elections-not the “historical turnout plus 25 percent” that was standard until last year for figuring the number of ballots needed. Says Sherbet: “I won’t get burned again.”