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Early voting can have significant impact on elections

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ABILENE, Texas - Signs saying "Early Voting Here" pointed voters in the right direction Monday at the Taylor County Plaza on Oak Street.

"I went by there on my lunch hour, and I voted, and I have that off my list of things to do," said Nanci Liles, who voted early.

Liles was one of more than 800 early voters in Taylor County.

"It was in and out," Liles said. "It was a very simple process. [It] took me about two minutes and that was it."

There are 10 voting locations now open in Taylor County for city and school elections.

"Four of them are located within the city, and then we have six that are in our outlying rural areas," said Freda Ragan, the Taylor County Elections Administrator.

Early votes made all the difference in Abilene's last mayoral election. In 2014, Robert Briley beat Mayor Norm Archibald by five votes on Election Day, but Archibald won overall. Fifty seven percent of voters in that election voted early, compared to 43 percent who voted on Election Day.

"In the last few years we have seen the trend of voting shift to more voters turning out and voting early as opposed to Election Day," Ragan said. "In some cases it can be the determining factor in the result of that race."

Liles said she always votes early to make sure her voice is heard.

"When you depend on that very last day to vote, sometimes your schedule doesn't always allow that," Liles said.

Early voting ends May 2. Election Day is Saturday, May 6.

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