Chamber of Commerce joins civic leaders to encourage early voting

As early voting begins October 13, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a Go Vote event, in which civic leaders expressed the importance of heading to the polls early.

"It's going to affect each and every one of us. The Chamber has been a, just a great catalyst of bringing us together to talk about these things as employers and as employees," Gabe Vitela said.

Vitela is the chairman of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. The small business owner says the right to vote is easily taken for granted.

"We understand that there are issues and candidates on the ballot every year that impact business and the bottom line of every employee, homeowner, and citizen of Lubbock. Your voice matters," Vitela said.

County Judge Curtis Parrish says voting early, from Tuesday to the 30th, is especially important.

There are 20,000 newly registered voters since 2016. The ballot is longer this year, meaning voters will spend more time in the booth.

For the first time in Texas history, there is no straight party voting, meaning voters will have to select a candidate for each race. Parrish encourages printing a sample ballot and making your decisions before arriving.

"We're going to have a lot of new people show up to vote in this election. So it's very, very important that we have patience with each other that we give each other a lot of grace as we go through this process," Parrish said.

With personal protective equipment for voters and election workers at each location, Elections Administrator Dorothy Kennedy says they are excited and ready to go.

"We're trying to encourage everyone to go vote early to avoid those three and four hour lines on election day that folks we'll see if they wait until election day," Kennedy said. 

Parrish and Mayor Dan Pope also emphasized the importance of casting a ballot.

"Voting is probably the most important thing that we as American citizens get to do because this is the time when we get to make our voice heard as to what we want our government to look like," Parrish said.

"There's been a lot of bloodshed from the 1700's all the way up to present for our freedom, and top of the heap on that freedom is our right to vote," Pope said.

There are 25 locations to cast your ballot with an eligible form of ID in Lubbock county, including the Elections Office and any of the 11 United stores.