Time is running out for last minute applicants to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election to amend the Texas Constitution.
Even though the proposed amendments are intended to update the laws that outline the freedoms of citizens and govern lawmakers, history shows constitutional amendments elections have the lowest turnout.
According to Erath County Clerk Gwinda Jones, only six-percent, or 966 voters, turned out to cast ballots in November 2007.
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.
In the November 2008 presidential election, however, 14,272 locals voted.
Jones is encouraging all registered voters to participate in the upcoming election, and is also advising all citizens who are not registered to turn in their applications before the deadline. She said when fewer voters participate, the decision of a few affects the lives of many.
To be eligible to register, you must be a U.S. citizen, be a resident of the county in which you register, be 18 years old, not be a convicted felon, unless the sentence is completed, including any probation or parole, and not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law. For more information, visit the Web site of Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, www.sos.state.tx.us.
Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. Monday at the county tax office, located at 320 W. College in Stephenville or at the Dublin Annex, located at 219 S. Grafton. Applications can also be obtained at local branches of the United States Postal Service but must be postmarked no later than Oct. 5. Individuals renewing their driver’s licenses may also register to vote. Those applicants must also adhere to the Monday deadline.
Early voting will be held at the Erath County Courthouse beginning Monday, Oct. 19. The last day of early voting will be Friday, Oct. 30.
Since Erath County was again chosen to participate in the pilot program for countywide election precincts, voters may cast their Election Day ballot at any of four polling places Nov. 3. Ballots can be cast in Stephenville at the Erath County Courthouse, TexasBank on Wolfe Nursery Road or the Embarq office, located at the corner of Lillian and Frey streets. Ballots may also be cast at the Courthouse Annex in Dublin.
Applications for a ballot by mail must be received by the county clerk’s office by Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Historical background and summaries of each of the 11 amendments can be reviewed in “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