Early voters flock to polling booths
Last updated 10/23/2018 at Noon
Cutline: Candidates’ signs line the walkway to the Orange Public Library, host to early voting for the Nov. 6 general election.
For The Record
How badly do Orange Countians want to vote in next month’s General Election for federal, state and county legislators and officials?
Well, more than 2,200 mail-in ballots had arrived at the County Elections office by last Friday, compared to 850 for the last mid-term election, in 2014.
A total of 2,400 people voted in person Monday, the first day of early voting, at one of the county’s four early voting locations.
The number or registered voters in Orange County, Elections Administrator Tina Barrow said, was 53,381 for this election. In 2014, before Tropical Storm Harvey dislocated some Orange County residents for the third or fourth time, Orange County had 50,553 registered voters.
“We’ve had a ton of people come and register,” she said.
“And we’ve had a lot of people find out recently about the mail-in ballots, plus we’ve had a lot of people turn 65.”
Orange and Vidor led the way in Monday’s voting with 773 voters marking their ballots at the Orange Public Library and 748 marking theirs at the Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor. Bridge City (572) and Mauriceville (302) were the other sites.
Tuesday, the early voting sites were open late, as they will be next Tuesday, Oct. 30. Tuesday voting totals weren’t available at press time.
Only 9,000 people voted in Orange County’s March Republican and Democratic primary elections. But 17,431 voted here in November 2014 when Republican Senator John Cornyn, Republican Congressman Brian Babin and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott all received 77 percent of the vote in Orange County.
If you’re scoring, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who is up for re-election this year, received 73 percent of the Orange County vote when he first ran in 2012.
Locally, a total of seven county-wide races feature Republicans only.
The two local races with a choice are Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace and Precinct 2 Commissioner.
Republican Hershel Stagner, Jr., who stepped in for retiring Judge David Peck in 2017, is taking on Democrat Gail Barnett.
Barnett, a local attorney who has previously served as JP in Mississippi, ran unsuccessfully against Peck in 2014.
For the Commissioner’s race, Republican Theresa Beauchamp is taking on Democrat Deborah Mitchell after Beauchamp ousted incumbent Barry Burton in the primary.
Also residents of the West Orange-Cove CISD will be voting on a $25.7 million school bond election.
On the federal end of the ballot, Cruz is being challenged by Democrat Beto O’Rourke and District 36 Rep. Babin is being challenged by Houston Republican Dayna Steele.
Besides Abbott, who is opposed by Democrat Lupe Valdez, other Republicans running for re-election to state office are Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, GLO Commissioner George P. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, and a number of judges.
Texas has not elected a Democrat for state office since 1994.