By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (October 19, 2016) – The countdown to the resolution to an ongoing debate and what some have called the most outrageous campaign season in the nation’s history starts now.
Early voting in the November 8 general election begins Monday, October 24, and continues through Friday, November 4. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.
Early ballots will be cast at the Erath County Courthouse and Dublin Annex, according to the voting schedule posted by the office of Erath County Clerk Gwinda Jones.
Jones said she is expecting a “very, very large turnout,” and encouraged all qualified county voters to exercise their rights.
“Whether you vote early, or on Election Day, please get out and vote. Make it a priority,” she said.
Jones said, historically speaking, Erath County has an even mix of early and Election Day voters, but she encourages individuals who prefer to avoid a rush to the polls to use the two-week early voting period to cast their ballots.
Stephenville voters can vote between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this coming Monday through Friday, October 28; from 1 until 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 30; and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 4.
Ballots can be cast in Dublin 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays only.
Applications for a ballot by mail must be received no later than Friday, October 28, according to a new law which states they must be received by the 11th day before Election Day. To request a mail ballot, call Garla Allen at 254-965-1444 or mail the request to County Clerk 100 West Washington Street, Stephenville TX, 76401. Mail-in voters may also email email@example.com to apply.
The big issue for Texas voters and others across the nations are the offices of President of the United States (POTUS) and U.S. Senate.
The POTUS ballot includes Republican Nominee Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine, as well as Libertarians Gary Johnson and William Weld, Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka and a list of write-in candidates.
A Texas 2016 Presidential Election Survey from the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, determined 1,000 registered Texas voters who were polled about their pick for POTUS were almost perfectly divided between the two major parties.
Trump was favored by 41 percent of those polled and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was favored by 38 percent. Meanwhile, 4 percent favored independent Gary Johnson, 1 percent backed Green Party candidate Jill Stein, 11 percent remained undecided and 2 percent refused to participate in the poll.
The interviews by the Hobby School were conducted between October 7 and October 15.
On Wednesday, the New York Times (NYT) reported a polling average which said Clinton had a 92 percent chance of winning the race with an estimated 46 percent backing from voters from across the nation who were polled. The study showed Trump to have 40 percent approval and Johnson to have an average of 6.5 percent.
The NYT projection was based on a number of leading polls, including those conducted by Fox News, Bloomberg/Selzer, Rasmussen, Politico, NBC News/Washington Post, Monmouth University and others. Those surveys were conducted between October 10 and 17 and each showed Clinton in the lead by margin of 4 to 15 percent.
NYT Senate forecast shows Democrats have a 58 percent chance of winning.
Below is a sample ballot for Erath County voters from Jones’ website. Click on the images to enlarge them.
Erath County voters will weigh in on the United State Representative, Districts 25 and 11. The District 25 race is between Republican incumbent Roger Williams, Democratic candidate Kathi Thomas and Libertarian Loren Marc Schneiderman. District 11 voters will decide between Republican Incumbent Mike Conaway and Libertarian candidate Nicholas Landholt.
Other contested races on the local ballot include the offices of railroad commissioner; Justice Supreme Court places 3, 5 and 9 and Judge Court of Criminal Appeals place 2, 5 and 6.
Uncontested candidates for state offices, who are all on the Republican ballot, include State Board of Education District 14, Sue Melton-Malone; State Representative District 59, J.D. Sheffield; and Justice 11th Court of Appeals District Place 3, John Bailey.
Earth County races include uncontested Republican candidates District Attorney 266th Judicial District, Alan Nash; County Attorney Lisa Pence; Sheriff Tommy Bryant; Tax Assessor-Collector Jennifer Carey; County Commissioner Precinct 1 Dee Stephens; Constable Precinct 1 Jason Schipper; Constable Precinct 2 Lee Roy Gaitan; and County Commissioner Precinct 3 Joe Brown.
Registered voters who are qualified to do so in Erath County and prefer to vote on Tuesday, November 8 will have a number of places to cast their Election Day ballots. Polls will be open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. at the Erath County Courthouse, Centurylink Telephone Office, Texas Bank and United Cooperative Services in Stephenville, as well as the Dublin County Annex, Lingleville School, Morgan Mill Community Center, Selden Community Center, Bluff Dale Fire Department and Huckabay School.
Whether they vote early or on Election day, voters are expected to present one of several forms of photo identification when voting in person, including a Texas driver license, election identification certificate, personal ID card, handgun license, military ID, U.S. citizenship certificate or passport.
But, voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain a photo ID will be able to fill out a declaration of hardship at the polls and present supporting documentation, including a voter registration certificate, certified birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or another government document.