By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (February 20, 2016) – As the first week of early voting winding down Friday, Erath County Clerk Gwinda Jones said the turnout was “pretty good.”
With an hour left in early voting, 1,054 voters had cast ballots at the county courthouse. Jones said the turnout was in line with previous presidential election years.
“Looking at the first day of the 2012 primary election, 247 voted,” she said. “This year, 285 voted on the first day.”
In the first week of voting in 2012, when the polls were open five days, 1,090 ballots were cast. This year, the first week only included four days due to Monday, Presidents’ Day, being a federal holiday.
Jones admits that both 2012 and the current election far surpass other “off” election years.
“Turnout for presidential elections is always bigger,” she said. “And this year, we also have three local contested races.”
Incumbent Tommy Bryant is running for re-election in a race against Clell D. Murray and Leslie ‘Tish’ Lecroy.
Meanwhile, three hopefuls, Jimmy Towe, Jason Schipper and Scott Daily are vying for the office of constable, precincts 1, 3 and 4 and incumbent Joe Brown is facing a challenge from Dale Wesley Dove for his seat on Erath County Commissioners Court, Pct. 2.
Incumbent J.D. Sheffield is also vying to keep his seat as state representative over District 59 and facing a challenge from Stephenville businessman Brent Graves.
Jones said there hasn’t been many problems at the polls. But there is occasional confusion from voters who don’t understand that they must choose to vote Republican or Democrat.
“All of the local candidates are on the Republican ballot,” she said.
A week of early voting remains. Jones said polls will be open 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the Erath County Courthouse and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Erath County Courthouse and Dublin County Annex.
Election Day ballots can be cast 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1.
“Voters can vote at any of the polling places, regardless of where they live,” Jones said.
In addition to the Erath County Courthouse and Dublin Annex, polling places include TexasBank, 988 Wolfe Nursery Road in Stephenville; United Cooperative Services, 1200 Glen Rose Highway in Stephenville; Lingleville School, 21261 N FM 219; Morgan Mill Community Center, 406 CR 156; Selden Community Center, 4142 FM 913; Bluff Dale Fire Department, 175 Holt Street; and Huckabay School, 200 CR 421.