By Nicole Nielsen

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Leaders in Dallas are preparing to ensure Saturday’s joint runoff election goes off without a hitch. It comes after several polling locations experienced issues that caused delays on May 1.

The Park South YMCA was one polling location that opened a few hours after it was supposed to on election day. Now, the county election department is making sure that doesn’t happen again.

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“I expect a smooth day,” said elections administrator Michael Scarpello.

The May joint election was the largest held in Dallas County history, with almost 100 more polling locations than in 2019.

“The size of the election put a tremendous strain on our existing systems,” Scarpello said.

Scarpello says part of the problem was the increased labor needed to run such a large election during a pandemic. It added challenges they normally don’t face.

District 8 councilman Tennell Atkins says the delays were unacceptable.

“They couldn’t vote for three hours… and they’ve been waiting all year to vote on Election Day,” Atkins said.

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He says having a back up plan in place is important, considering these races will greatly impact the city of Dallas.

“We have six council races tomorrow in the city of Dallas. We got to make sure every vote counts,” Atkins said.

This time around, the election is less than half the size, with only 201 polling places.

Scarpello says they have plenty of staff.

“The labor stresses are much less. We feel confident we’re going to have the bodies out there,” he said.

The county election department also had what they called a “dress rehearsal” Friday morning.

They also have a new election set-up response team that will be ready to problem solve any unexpected issues on Saturday.

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Polling places open Saturday at 7 a.m. and run until 7 p.m.

Nicole Nielsen