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Early voting has low turnout; Election Day on Tuesday

Posted: November 4, 2011 - 10:53pm  |  Updated: November 5, 2011 - 12:04am
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Thousands fewer Lubbockites went to the voting booths for early voting than recent constitutional amendment elections, according to Lubbock County’s elections office.

Those who did not vote early still can cast their ballots for the 10 constitutional amendment proposals on election day Tuesday at any of the county’s 35 polling places, said Kim Davis, a spokeswoman for the elections office.

Early voting, which started Oct. 24, closed at 8 p.m. Friday and attracted 4,826 voters — about 3,000 fewer than the 7,905 who cast ballots early in the 2007 constitutional amendment election and only a third of the 14,540 early voters in 2009’s election. The total number of registered voters in Lubbock County is 147,810.

Dorothy Kennedy, Lubbock County’s elections administrator, told The Avalanche-Journal at the onset of early voting she expected relatively low turnout for this election compared to previous elections, in part because the ballot does not include local items or options to elect public officials.

“You always have more turnout when you have names on the ballot,” she said. “But they’re equally important elections.”

Recent off-year elections have featured higher-profile issues such as a gay marriage amendment in 2005 and handful of Lubbock Independent School District bond proposals in 2009, Davis said.

This year’s election includes proposals to allow state entities such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Water Development Board the power to raise funds by offering additional bonds. One amendment, proposition one, would give surviving spouses of disabled veterans tax exemption on their homes.

Voters can take their pick of any of the 35 polling places to cast their ballot, Davis said.

“It’s a super-precinct style election, so it does not matter where you live,” she said.

Davis said she does not expect voters will have to wait long in lines.

“Even when we have a big voter turnout the lines seem to move pretty quickly,” she said. “Just make sure you’re in line by 7 p.m., because that’s when voting ends.”

Voters only need to show some form of identification or their voter registration card.

Voting begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday at all polling places, including all United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos locations and at Texas Tech’s Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center, Hartford Avenue and Main Street.

For a list of all early voting locations, go to the election’s office website at www.co.lubbock.tx.us/department/?fDD=15-0. Voters also can text 75044 and type in their zip code to receive directions to their nearest polling place.


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Proposition Number 1

SJR 14 would amend the constitution to authorize the legislature to provide the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran with an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the surviving spouse’s residence homestead as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried, the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the qualifying veteran died, and the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.

Proposition Number 2

SJR 4 would amend the constitution to authorize the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds on a continuing basis for one or more accounts of the Texas Water Development Fund II, with the restriction that the total amount of bonds outstanding at any time does not exceed $6 billion.

Proposition Number 3

SJR 50 would amend the constitution to authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or its successors to issue and sell general obligation bonds on a continuing basis for the purpose of financing educational loans for students, subject to certain constitutional restrictions, including a restriction as to the maximum principal amount of bonds outstanding at any one time.

Proposition Number 4

HJR 63 would amend the constitution to authorize the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area within the county, and to pledge increases in ad valorem tax revenues imposed on property in the area by the county for repayment of such bonds or notes. The amendment does not provide independent authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.

Proposition Number 5

SJR 26 would amend the constitution to authorize the legislature to allow cities and counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities and counties without having to assess an ad valorem tax and set aside a specified amount of funds for the payment of costs under the interlocal contract.

Proposition Number 6

HJR 109 would amend the constitution to increase the amount of principal that is available for withdrawal from the permanent school fund each year and would also clarify certain references to that fund in the constitution. Increased access to the principal of the state public education trust fund would be based upon HJR 109 granting the authority to consider alternative market calculations when determining the amount of principal that is available for distribution to the available school fund. HJR 109 would also provide authority to distribute to the available school fund annual revenue from school fund land or other properties up to $300 million per year.

Proposition Number 7

SJR 28 would amend the constitution by adding El Paso County to the list of counties authorized to create conservation and reclamation districts to develop parks and recreational facilities financed by taxes.

Proposition Number 8

SJR 16 would amend the constitution by requiring the legislature to provide for taxation of open space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

Proposition Number 9

SJR 9 would amend the constitution to authorize the governor, on the written recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, to grant a pardon, reprieve, or commutation of punishment to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.

Proposition Number 10

SJR 37 would amend the constitution by extending the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain local elected officeholders if they announce candidacy or become candidates for another office from one year to one year and 30 days.


Source: www.votexas.org.

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