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Early voting locations up for debate at Denton City Council


The Denton City Council directed city staff to set up several familiar polling locations for the November special election, when a $309.5 million community bond will be on the ballot for voters to determine if the city needs a new library, more trails and expansions of Ruddell Street and Mingo Road.

Early voting starts Oct. 23-27, when polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voting times will change to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.

Voting times will be extended the final week of early voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

A majority of the council members gave direction for staff to add the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Southeast Denton as an early voting polling location since it also appears as one for election day voting.

“I co-sign MLK to be an early voting location and advocate TWU have a location on campus on Election Day,” council member Brandon Chase McGee said. “We’re making sure there is the Gateway Center [for University of North Texas students] and need to do so with the needs for the TWU kids. We all got here because of voting, and we believe in voting, and we need to make sure they have a location on campus.”

But no discussion for a Texas Woman’s University polling location followed.

As it currently stands, possible early voting locations include:

  • Denton Civic Center
  • Denton County Elections Administration
  • North Branch Library
  • Robson Ranch Clubhouse
  • South Branch Library
  • UNT Gateway Center

Election Day locations are as follows:

  • Denia Recreation Center
  • Denton Civic Center
  • Denton ISD Sisk Service Center Annex
  • Denton Optimist Club
  • Lake Sharon Community Church
  • Lifeline Church
  • MLK Recreation Center
  • North Branch Library
  • North Lakes Recreation Center
  • Robson Ranch Clubhouse
  • Serve Denton Center
  • South Branch Library
  • UNT Gateway Center

At the Tuesday work session, the city staff was looking for direction from the council to add or substitute polling locations for the Nov. 7 election.

To add a location, the city would have to bear half of the cost to add it, according to the staff’s presentation Tuesday. Each additional voting location was estimated to cost $3,000, with a deadline of this Friday to add the locations.

City Council member Paul Meltzer questioned why the Denton County Elections Administration would want to charge the city to add a polling location.

City staff offered a few reasons, including an issue with having to get the ballots in line with the locations. Meltzer claimed the explanation didn’t add up since whether they substitute or add a location, they would have to get those same ballots lined up.

Another reason offered was that one precinct couldn’t have more polling locations than another precinct. They need “to strike that balance,” city staff said.

Meltzer still didn’t quite understand why that would relate to an additional cost. He proposed adding the MLK center as an early voting location.

He also seemed to suggest that he has a history of having to ask for the MLK Recreation Center to be added as an early voting polling location.

“I have to keep asking for it,” Meltzer said.

Council members Vicki Byrd, Chris Watts and McGee also gave staff direction for adding the location. Byrd was worried that the elections administration would have to substitute the MLK center for another location.

Meltzer suggested that if they did have to substitute a location, they should consider removing the Denton County Elections Administration office as one of those locations since it is “less like a neighborhood location.”

Council member Joe Holland disagreed.

“I would hate to lose a voting facility whose middle name is ‘election,’” Holland said. “It’s an obvious place to hold an election.”

City staff said they would look into adding the MLK center and let council members know before the end of the week.

CHRISTIAN McPHATE can be reached at 940-220-4299 and