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Meet The North Texans Who Turned Out For The First Day Of In-Person Voting

Joe and Arlene Ponce pose with masks on and thumbs up.
Keren Carrión
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KERA News
Joe and Arlene Ponce, of Fort Worth, voted on the first day of early voting for the Presidential election. They are small business owners and are financially hurting due to the pandemic.

Tuesday was the first day of early voting in the state, and people all over North Texas headed out to the polls.

Voters at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Allen Event Center and other polling locations across the metroplex shared why they came out.

In & Around Dallas

Luther Harris was the first person in line at the American Airlines Center. He said he hasn’t missed an opportunity to vote since 2016 —and nothing, not even a pandemic, could stop him.

“I don’t care care if I get sick just because I went and voted. As long as my voice is heard, I’m happy,” Harris said.

Connie Sutton is a first-time voter. She said this year voting felt necessary.

“Everything that’s happened over the last year — as far as coronavirus and its impact,” Sutton said when discussing why she came out.

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Keren Carrión
Adrian Ray, a preacher in Dallas, is one of the first in line to vote early at the American Airlines Center. “I have to lead by example,” Ray said.

Adrian Ray is a minister who lives in Uptown Dallas. He also came out to vote at the American Airlines Center early Tuesday morning.

"I'm more than a minister so I think I lead by example by coming first," Ray said. "Showing everybody else, 'Hey, get out here, come vote. Get it done, then you don't have to worry about it.'"

Marion Marshall came from South Dallas to vote. She's a semi-retired entrepreneur who said it's important to exercise your right to vote.

"For this election, it's important," she said. "All of them are important, so I wanted to be here early. I did not want to be like number 100 down the line. I made a plan, so I could be here."

Further south at Glenn Heights City Hall, just south of downtown Dallas, voters had to wait over an hour in line.

Fort Worth & Tarrant County

Elections Administrator Heider Garcia said there's already been an early voting hiccup in Tarrant County.

“We had a worker who called us last night around 8 to tell us he tested positive for COVID," he said.

After that positive test, election officials said that poll worker's entire training class had to stay home. That meant one election site in Euless couldn't open this morning.

But there was a line out the door at Fort Worth's Northside Community Center, where Joe and Arlene Ponce voted.

Joe and Arlene Ponce pose with masks on and thumbs up.
Keren Carrión
Joe and Arlene Ponce, of Fort Worth, voted on the first day of early voting for the Presidential election. They are small business owners and are financially hurting due to the pandemic.

The pandemic is a big issue for them. Their son died suddenly in April.

"Every day we cry, every day," Joe Ponce said.

Their son didn't have COVID-19, but the pandemic prevented them from being able to visit him in the hospital.

"It’s really affected a lot of people in a lot of different ways, you know, and it’s really hurtful," Arlene Ponce said. "Something’s gotta change, I’m telling you. Something has got to change."

Voting can be complicated, and the pandemic has only heightened the challenge. Here's what you need to know to vote in the 2020 general election in North Texas.

Allen

At the Allen Event Center, voting lines were long but moved quickly. Masks were worn, hand sanitizer was available but some expressed concerns about social distancing measures.

Diane Rice, a nurse, said she came out for early voting to "make sure my ballot is counted." Rice said she was ready for change and didn't want to leave the election up to chance.

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Hady Mawajdeh
David Humphrey, 67, said voting was different this year but still went smoothly.

David Humphrey also voted at Allen Event Center. He said the county has been through too much this year.

“Voting is a privilege. It’s an honor," he said. "And this year, it’s a must."

Flower Mound

Brinda Madiruddi, a student at UT-Dallas, stopped by the Community Activity Center in Flower Mound. She said it was her first time voting in a presidential election.

“There’s not one good candidate that I’m super for, but you gotta do the best of what you can do,” she said.

Madiruddi thinks there will be big turnout among young people this year.

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Miranda Suarez
A long line of people wait to vote at the Community Activity Center in Flower Mound on Tuesday.

Brian Tot said he came out on the first day of early voting because he didn't want President Trump to remain in office. He said when his wife came to vote earlier Tuesday, the line was so long she decided to come back at another time.

Tot said it's good that so many people are voting, but the long lines can make it more difficult.

“It should be as easy as possible," he said. "That’s supposed to be part of the American dream."

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