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As expected, voter turnout very poor

November 9, 2011

By THOMAS JENKINS
Staff Writer
Less than 5 percent of Howard County registered voters turned out to cast their ballot in this year’s constitutional amendment election, with polls closing at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Howard County saw a total of 654 ballots cast — 272 during early voting, 28 mail-in ballots and 354 cast Tuesday — accounting for just 4 percent of the registered voters, according to official election reports.
Among the proposed amendments, Proposition 1 drew the most attention in the Crossroads area, which is heavily populated by military veterans.
It amends the constitution to authorize the legislature to provide the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran with an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the surviving spouse’s residence homestead as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried, the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the qualifying veteran died, and the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.
The amendment received 88.34 percent approval (576 ballots) in Howard County, with just 11.66 (76 ballots) voting against the measure. On the statewide level, the amendment passed by a 82.88 percent margin (568,959 ballots), according to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
Other amendment results include:
Proposition Number 2 (SJR 4) — The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding. The amendment narrowly passed by a 51.52 percent margin statewide. Locally, the amendment was supported by 57.74 percent of voters.
Proposition Number 3 (SJR 50) — The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students. The amendment passed statewide by a 54.52 percent margin. Locally, the amendment only saw 43.28 percent support.
Proposition Number 4 (HJR 63) — The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates. The amendment was defeated statewide by a 59.71 percent margin. Locally, the amendment failed by a 67.03 percent margin.
Proposition Number 5 (SJR 26) — The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into inter-local contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund. The amendment was approved by a statewide margin of 57.77 percent. Locally, the amendment enjoyed a 54.74 percent win.
Proposition Number 6 (HJR 109) — The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions from the available school fund. The amendment narrowly passed statewide, garnering 51.57 percent of the ballot. Locally, the amendment failed to meet voter snuff with 59.84 percent casting their ballot against the measure.
Proposition Number 7 (SJR 28) — The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities. The amendment failed statewide, garnering only 48.30 percent of the vote. Locally, the amendment saw similar failure, pulling in only 36.65 percent of the Howard County vote.
Proposition Number 8 (SJR 16) — The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity. The amendment failed, receiving only 47 percent of the statewide vote. Locally, the amendment saw similar results, receiving only 44.48 percent support.
Proposition Number 9 (SJR 9) — The constitutional amendment authorizing the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision. The amendment passed at the state level, garnering 57.31 percent of the vote. Locally, however, it was a much closer race, with the amendment receiving 50.70 percent approval.
Proposition Number 10 (SJR 37) — The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office. The amendment was approved by a statewide margin of 55.94 percent. Locally, however, voters were less pleased with the measure, showing it only 48.13 percent support.

Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at citydesk@bigspringherald.com

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