San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 7th, 2009
353 vote early in San Marcos school race

STAFF REPORT

After Hays County produced record voter turnouts in the elections last November, the election to be concluded Saturday figures to represent a huge voter decline.

Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan said only 2,033 eligible voters across the county cast early votes on a variety of local matters, including school board and city council races in balloting from April 27 to May 5.

For last November’s election, which included the U.S. Presidential race, 38,780 Hays County citizens cast early votes out of 90,073 eligible. Another 20,211 voters cast their ballots on Election Day, bringing the county total for November to 59,991, or 66.6 percent of the eligible voters.

“We voted two-thirds (of the total voters) in early voting in November,” Cowan said. “If we did two-thirds in this one, we’re not going to have anybody on Saturday.”

The most lightly attended location in early voting was a poll opened for 12 hours in Uhland on Monday. Only two people voted there that day.

Early voting for the San Marcos CISD trustees election in the last two weeks produced only 353 votes. Cowan said the San Marcos CISD includes just fewer than 30,000 eligible voters, meaning a few more than one percent voted early.

Last year, total voter turnout in two San Marcos CISD single-district elections turned out only 2.5 percent of the eligible vote, with one race drawing 226 voters and the other drawing 106, for a total of 332 voters. The early vote for two at-large seats across the school district this year has exceeded that total.

Cowan said Tuesday, May 5, produced by far the highest early vote total in San Marcos CISD, with about 100 voters between the two locations (the San Marcos CISD administration building and the Hays County elections office).

San Marcos CISD Trustees President Judy Allen is running for re-election, with challenges from former San Marcos Mayor David Chiu, San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance founder Chris North and political newcomer Vincent Delgado. The top two vote recipients of the four will be seated on the city council.

Voter turnout in the Wimberley area surpassed the rest of Hays County during the early polls, with 874 of about 12,000 voters turning out to vote on a liquor option election in Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, a city council election in Wimberley and an incorporation vote for the area around Jacob’s Well.

Out of just more than 30,000 eligible voters in Hays CISD, 510 came out for early voting. Of those, 335 went to the Buda boxes, where the only city council seat up for contest pits influential incumbent Sandra Tenorio against Buda Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Warren Ketteman. The only Hays CISD school board race puts incumbent Patti Wood against New Braunfels CISD teacher Claude Tice.

Cowan said 216 people voted early in Dripping Springs precincts, 54 voted in Mountain City and 26 voted in Uhland.

The only two uniform election dates in Texas fall on the first Tuesday after a Monday in November and on the second Saturday in May. Cowan said low turnout for May elections could just be dictated by the time of year.

“This weekend is Mother’s Day,” Cowan said. “But if we’d done it last weekend, instead, it’s Cinco de Mayo.”

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