Early voting begins Monday

Early balloting in the May 12 municipal and school district elections begins Monday with a proposed multi-million dollar 4B project expected to be a driving force in voter turnout.Early voting will take place in the Elections Administration Office — located on the third floor of the Howard County Courthouse — between Monday and May 8, according to Saundra Bloom, county elections administrator.Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with special 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. extended hours scheduled Tuesday and Thursday.“The extended hours are designed to give people a chance to come in and vote early who work between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week and just can’t get away,” Bloom said. “We’re hoping local voters will take advantage of these extended hours and go ahead and come in. It beats waiting until election day and having to wait in line.”Big Spring voters will only have one city council contest to weigh-in on this year, as the race for the District 4 seat begins to heat up.Bobby McDonald — businessman and husband of incumbent District 4 Councilwoman Gloria McDonald, who decided not to run for re-election — faces off against Loretta Farquhar for the seat.Big Spring voters will also be asked to decide the fate of a proposed overhaul of the municipality’s water and wastewater facilities using up to $13 million in economic development funding through a 4B project.Members of the Big Spring City Council voted unanimously to have the proposed project placed on the May ballot during their Feb. 14 meeting, a move that drew both praise and criticism from various voices in the community.As part of the agreement between the council and the Big Spring Economic Development board of directors, if voters approve the project the EDC will provide $750,000 a year for the first two years, and then 40 percent of its sales tax revenue — with a floor of $500,000 and a ceiling of $750,000 for the following 18 years — with the city of Big Spring picking up the remainder of the tab.Big Spring ISD has one contested election — District 2. Incumbent Maria Padilla is running against Ed Ware and Pat Deanda. Early voting will be at the county courthouse.Forsan ISD has two at-large positions, held by Lewis Boeker and Misty Rhoton. Other names appearing on the ballot will be Chris Olson and Beckie Wash. Wash was appointed to the board last month to fill a spot left vacant by Derrick Looney. The position will be for an unexpired two-year term, while the other positions are for three year terms. Early voting will take place at the Howard County Courthouse. Sands ISD will have three at-large positions on the ballot. Incumbents Tommy Staggs and Bill Barnes are running for re-election. Michael Wigington, Wes Higgins, Blayne Archuleta and Matt Snell are also seeking election. Early voting will take place at the school business office. Coahoma Independent School District has three positions — all at large— up for election Brian Moore, board president, Jody Reid and Alan Wright are all incumbents running for re-election. Challengers are Leslie Tindol, Gerald King and Paul Lewis, Early voting will take place at the Howard County Courthouse0. Bloom said construction going on around the courthouse square shouldn’t hinder voters looking to cast their ballots early.“I spoke with officials from Price Construction about the work and how it might impact people’s ability to get to the office,” Bloom said. “They have assured me it won’t hinder the amount of parking available. It had me a little worried, but it shouldn’t be a problem at all.”For more information on the upcoming elections, contact the Howard County Elections Administration at 432-264-2273.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at citydesk@bigspringherald.com