Voters urge fellow Texans to cast their ballots early: 'It means so much'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Early voting begins Tuesday morning, but in Harris County, 22,000 people have already returned their mail-in ballots.

Out of that count, 3,250 returned their ballot in person at NRG Arena. It's the only in-person mail-in drop-off location in the county, and it's where ABC13 found people anxious to cast their ballots.

"This is my 36th year voting," Savannah Taplin told Eyewitness News. "It's very important. That's why I encourage everybody on Election Day, cast your ballot because it means so much."

READ MORE: What you need to know about early voting starting in Texas tomorrow

Dolores Garner also wanted to make sure her vote counted.

"They have made such a mess out of voting," she said. "I was afraid to go take it to the post office because they're messing with them."

READ ALSO: Texas counties can have multiple absentee ballot drop-off locations, federal judge says, blocking Gov. Greg Abbott's order

NRG Arena is also one of 122 early voting locations and 10 drive-thru locations. This also includes the Houston Food Bank off the east freeway.

"We want to make sure that people are thinking about systemic change, making big changes through their vote and exercising their right," said Melanie Pang with the Houston Food Bank.

Another early voting location is the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. The church was filled with voting machines ready for Tuesday's crowd.

READ ALSO: Texas voter information: The top voter fraud myths debunked
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It's true: voter fraud exists. Can you become a victim? If you plan on voting by mail, you might want to watch the video above to get informed before you go.



"We have a long history of voting rights and activism so we couldn't be more proud," said Minister Don Odom, Jr. "In [the COVID-19 pandemic] we want to be extra careful. We have moved to the gymnasium which gives us a little more room to spread out, but we don't want to put anyone in harm's way."

Remember, if you are planning on voting early, you will need a photo ID. When you go to cast your ballot, you can have your phone with you, but it must be silent and you can't use it as a cheat sheet.

Voters are allowed to bring in a piece of paper or sample ballot.

Harris County, like so many across Texas, has everything you need to know about voting on their website.

You can vote early starting Tuesday, Oct. 13 through Friday, Oct. 30. Voters in Harris County can cast their ballots at any of the 122 early voting centers.

Eight of those center will offer 24-hour voting on Thursday, Oct. 29, and all locations have extended their evening hours from Tuesday, Oct. 27 to Thursday, Oct. 29.

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