Voters in local elections will have two extra day to cast ballots this year after a former Galveston city councilman successfully filed a petition to increase the number of days of early voting.
Frank Maceo, who served on the Galveston City Council from 2016 to 2018, last week submitted a petition to the Galveston County Clerk's Office demanding that early voting for the May 4 election be held on a Saturday and a Sunday.
Maceo's petition was signed by 162 registered voters from Galveston, he said on Friday.
"This is something that I'd like to see the city and the county incorporate into policy, so that all of our elections are uniform," he said.
Typically, there are seven days of early voting before a Election Day. But Maceo believed more people would and should be able to participate in the election by having voting periods outside of work hours, he said.
The weekend early voting days will make this year's local voting schedule similar to the one used in a national election year.
Maceo used a provision in the state election code, which allows residents to petition for additional early voting on weekends, to compel the extra voting days. The state law requires only 15 valid signatures in order to add the extra voting days.
County and city officials on Friday confirmed there will be early voting on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
On both early voting days, the county will have just single voting site open at the Galveston County Justice Center.
Because the county operates a county-wide voting system, voters from any city holding an election this year will be able to vote on the added days.
The added days do carry an extra cost for entities that are having an election this year, Galveston City Secretary Janelle Williams said on Friday. The cost of the added days will be divided among the 16 entities scheduled to have elections — including in Galveston, where voters will decided whether to increase parking rates on Seawall Boulevard.
Galveston County commissioners are scheduled to approve contracts with those entities on Monday.
Williams didn't know how much the added days would cost the city of Galveston, she said. A typical election costs about $30,000, Williams said.
Early voting begins on April 22. Election day is May 4.