Big turnout ahead of Election Day: More than 12,000 Erath County voters cast early ballots

E-T staff report

Early voting for the 2020 General Election ended on Friday, so those who didn't take advantage of the early voting opportunity will have to head to the polls on Tuesday.

As of end of day Thursday, Erath County Elections Coordinator Michelle Allcon reported that 12,414 registered voters had cast their ballots early. Of that total, 11,279 voted in person, while 1,135 voted absentee, or by mail-in, ballot.

Erath County, which has a total of 23,987 registered voters per the Texas Secretary of State's website, had more than 50% of its total voting population cast ballots during early voting.

Residents of Stephenville will select presidential candidates Donald Trump or Joe Biden, as well as a U.S. Senate race and other decisions affecting the local community, including a sports venue tax.

For the venue tax, the city of Stephenville is asking voters for authorization to collect an additional 2% tax on hotel rooms, not to exceed 9% on hotel stays. The additional tax will add $2 per night to a hotel room with a $100 nightly rate. Funds collected from the 2% tax would be used for the construction or improvement of city-owned sports facilities, including ballfields, courts and recreation facilities.

“Except for very few exceptions, it’s paid by people from outside of Stephenville. It’s a way to pay for things in Stephenville using somebody’s else’s funds besides residents of Stephenville,” said Stephenville Mayor Doug Svien in a previous report.

According to the city of Stephenville Facebook page, visitors brought an estimated $47 million in direct visitor spending in Stephenville in 2018 and approximately $1.1 million in local tax revenue from tourism, which resulted in an estimated 500 jobs being supported within the city.


Due to COVID-19, the Erath County Courthouse, the Dublin County Annex and the United Cooperative Building will not be open for voting on Election Day.

Erath County residents who are registered can choose one of the 10 following locations to vote on Nov. 3. Voting hours for each location will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m.:

• Graham Street Church of Christ Family Center, 375 N. Graham St., Stephenville

• Patrick Street Church of Christ Family Center, 630 N. Patrick St., Dublin

• Bluff Dale Community Center, 175 Holt, Bluff Dale

• Cornerstone Assembly of God, 950 Glen Rose Road, Stephenville

• Huckabay Community Center, 42346 FM 219, Stephenville

• Lingleville School Building, 21261 N. FM 219, Lingleville

• Morgan Mill Community Center, 406 CR 156, Stephenville

• Selden Community Center, 4142 CR 913, Stephenville

• Texas A&M Agrilife Research & Extension Center, 1229 N. U.S. Hwy 281, Stephenville

• TexasBank, 988 Wolfe Nursery Road, Stephenville


Several candidates are running unopposed for various city, county and state positions. Here is an overview of the local candidates in the contested races that will be on the Erath County ballot:


– Matt Coates, incumbent and Republican, was appointed Erath County sheriff by the Commissioner’s Court following the unexpected death of longtime sheriff Tommy Bryant in December 2016. With the Howard County Sheriff’s Office, Coates served as lieutenant over patrol, criminal investigations and training before becoming chief deputy. He also served as the SWAT team leader for Big Spring Police Department/Howard County Sheriff’s Office SWAT, according to Coates and his wife Denys, a pharmacist, moved to Stephenville in 2013 and have three children.

– Paul Tyus, challenger and Independent, graduated from the Tarleton State University police academy in May of 1992. As previously reported by the E-T, he worked as a full-time police officer for the Dublin Police Department in January 1995 and was then accepted to be a reserve deputy for the Erath County Sheriff’s Office.


Board member Cole Parks, Place 6, on the Stephenville ISD School Board is not seeking re-election after serving for six years.

– David Tezaguic and Phyllis Stewart are both running for Place 6 on the Stephenville ISD School Board, a full three-year term.

Tezaguic is a 38-year-old bilingual engineer at Saint-Gobain Abrasives who has one son attending SISD.

Stewart, along with her husband Dee, have made their home in Stephenville for more than 20 years and have three daughters and one son.

Pastor Ed Dittfurth (Place 7) has also decided not to seek re-election.

– Donny Hill and Matt Miller are both running for Place 7 on the SISD School Board, a full three-year term.

Hill, 43, is a personal trainer for Anytime Fitness and an adjunct professor at Tarleton State University.

Miller, 38, is a financial adviser with Edward Jones. He and his wife Cindy, who works at Hook Elementary, have two daughters.