With only two days remaining for voters to cast an early ballot, Erath County Clerk Gwinda Jones is encouraging locals to seize the opportunity to take part in the election to amend the Texas Constitution.
Early voting will continue today and Friday at the Erath County Courthouse where polls will be open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
As of press time Wednesday, less than two percent of the county’s registered voters had cast ballots on the 11 proposed constitutional amendments. Jones said a total of 320 ballots had been counted and an average of 40 voters per day had entered the courthouse since early voting began on Oct. 19. On the high end, 65 voted Tuesday and the lowest turnout was last Thursday when only 24 ballots were cast.
When all is said and done, Jones said she expects that the current total will at least double by the time polls close on Election Day.
“As a general rule, half (of the total voters during any given election) vote early,” Jones said.
Lana Stevens, voter deputy, said there are currently 20,510 registered voters in the county.
Even with the low turnout of 1.56 percent, Jones said the numbers are comparable to previous constitutional amendment elections. Only six percent, or 966 voters, turned out to cast ballots in the Nov. 2007 election.
But Jones said certain propositions have drawn a larger crowd. In 2005, when there was an amendment that stated marriage in Texas is solely the union of a man and woman, 4,363 Erath County voters spoke their minds.
Jones is reminding voters that when fewer participate in elections, the decisions of a few affects the lives of many.
For those who prefer to wait until Election Day, ballots may be cast at any of four polling places in the county - the Erath County Courthouse, TexasBank, Embarq and the courthouse annex in Dublin. The polls will be open 7 a.m - 7 p.m.
The Texas Constitution was enacted in 1876 and more than 630 proposed amendments to the governing document have been presented to voters, 176 of which were defeated.
Historical background and summaries of each of the amendments can be reviewed in the “Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments” compiled by the Texas Legislative Council. The 60 page document is available online at http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubsconamend/pubsconamend.html.