When you head to the polls this election season, there are some important changes to note for the Nov. 8 ballot.
“Most local candidates’ names will not be on the ballot for you to select. All but one local office is unopposed. Senate Bill 1 changed the election code to require that unopposed candidates be declared elected for the office sought,” according to a statement from Liberty County Elections Administrator Klint Bush. “Section 2.056 of the Code requires that certifying authority to declare a candidate elected to an office of the state or county government if, were the election held, only the votes cast for that candidate in the election for that office may be counted. This only applies to the general election for state and county officers.”
Bush said he understands that Liberty County residents like to vote for their favorite officeholder, but recent changes by the State Legislature took away that opportunity.
“When you vote, you will see a large black box filled with officeholders’ names and offices held. This is the notification on the ballot that they are unopposed candidates declared elected. As the Elections Administrator, I certified the local list with County Commissioners Court, and the Texas Secretary of State certified the State officeholders,” Bush said.
Knowing that this may raise questions for some people accustomed to the ballot looking differently, Bush invites anyone with questions to call his office by dialing 936-253-8050.
“We strive to educate the public on different aspects and changes in law regarding voting. State law now requires that unopposed candidates be declared elected for the office sought. Remember to vote!,” Bush said.
So which candidates are “unopposed candidates declared elected?” This group includes County Judge Jay Knight, County Court at Law Judge Tommy Chambers, District Clerk Delia Sellers, County Clerk Lee Haidusek Chambers, County Treasurer Kim Harris, County Surveyor John C. “Johnny” Moorman, Pct. 2 Commissioner Greg Arthur, Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson, Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Stephen Hebert, Pct. 3 Justice of the peace Cody Parrish, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Larry Wilburn, Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Wade Brown and Pct. 6 Justice of the Peace Ralph Fuller.
The only contested race involves that of Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace. Republican Jimmy Belt is vying for the seat of incumbent Democrat Ronnie Davis.
WHICH POLITICAL RACES ARE ON THE BALLOT?
Other important races that will be determined in the Nov. 8 election are those of Tarkington ISD’s Board of Trustees, Liberty ISD tax rate election, Cleveland ISD’s bond referendum and River Ranch Municipal Utility District 4.
For the Tarkington ISD school board election, these are the candidates: Position 1 – Derral Shelton, Paige Bostwick and Justin Morgan; Position 2 – Susan Rollins and Donny Haltom; and Position 3 – Kevin Johnson, Brent Head and Chase Carpenter.
The River Ranch MUD 4 election pertains to the creation of a board of directors and the selection of those directors. Five candidates are running for the five positions. They are Sarah Herrington, Natalie Rodriguez, Quinn Wood, Robert Holsinger and Katelyn Van Kampen.
The Cleveland ISD bond referendum is for a $115 million bond to fund five projects that will help address overcrowding on campuses. The “zero tax rate increase” bond, should it be passed, will fund a new middle school, repurposing of the current Cleveland Middle School for a ninth and tenth grade campus, a new CTE (vocational) building, improvements to Southside Elementary and improvements to Douglass Learning Academy.
The Liberty ISD election asks voters to approve a ratification of the ad valorem tax rate of $1.27 for the current year. This rate will result in more money for the maintenance and operations side of the budget and less for the interest and sinking revenue side. District officials say that if this rate is not approved, the District will lose important funding from the State.
The state races that are on the ballot are for Texas governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, ag commissioner, railroad commissioner, Texas Supreme Court justices, Court of Criminal Appeals justices, state senator and the 9th Court of Appeals. The federal race on the ballot is for U.S. Representative for District 36.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 mid-term election began on Oct. 24 and continues this week through Oct. 28, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 29, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 30, from noon to 6 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 31, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Nov. 1-4, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you miss your opportunity to vote early, your only other chance will be on Election Day, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Turnout on Election Day is expected to be high, so vote early if you can.
The locations for early voting are the Jack Hartel Community Center, 318 San Jacinto St., Liberty; Dayton Community Center, 801 S. Cleveland St., Dayton; Hardin City Hall, 142 CR 2010, Liberty (Hardin); and Cleveland Civic Center, 210 Peach St., Cleveland.
On Election Day, the countywide voting centers will be at these locations:
- Devers School: 201 Chism St., Devers, Texas 77538
- Hull-Daisetta High School: 117 N Main St. Daisetta, TX 77533
- Sacred Heart Church, 3720 FM 160 North, Raywood TX 77582
- Jack Hartel Building: 318 San Jacinto St. Liberty, TX 77575
- Westlake VFD: 8704 FM 1409 Dayton, TX 77535
- Douglass School Gym: 900 Sam Wiley Drive, Cleveland, TX 77327
- Romayor Baptist Church: 307 FM 2610 Cleveland, TX 77327
- Hardin City Hall: 142 CO RD 2010 Liberty, TX 77575
- HI- Way Tabernacle: 108 CR 2250, Cleveland, TX 77327
- Cleveland Civic Center: 210 Peach St, Cleveland, TX 77327
- Santa Fe Admin Building: 1680 RD 3549 Cleveland Tx 77327
- Plum Grove City Hall: 9485 Plum Grove Rd, Cleveland Tx 77327
- Dayton Community Center: 801 S. Cleveland St. Dayton, TX 77535
- Kenefick Southern Baptist Church: 3536 FM 1008, Dayton, TX 77535
- Tarkington Prairie Baptist Church: 25 CR 306 Cleveland, TX 77327
Liberty County voters can cast their ballots on Election Day at any of the locations listed above. You do not have to vote in your particular precinct as Liberty County is now using voting centers. As long as you are standing in line to vote by 7 p.m. on Election Day and are a registered voter, you will be allowed to vote.
WHAT TO BRING
Make sure you take your photo ID with you as you head to the polls. The ID must be up to date or expired up to four years. Voters 70 and older may bring a photo ID that has been expired for any length of time. Here are some other forms of identification:
- Government document showing your name and an address, such as your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Birth certificate
If you use one of these, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.
Election night results will be posted on Bluebonnet News. For up-to-the-minute information on election night, be sure to follow Bluebonnet News on Facebook.