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No doubts on muni, ISD elections

February 21, 2012

While dates and deadlines for the political party primaries leading up to the November election remain up in the air thanks to ongoing litigation, Howard County elections officials said the delays will have no effect on municipal and school board elections slated for May 12.

Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom said the deadline to register to vote in the municipal and school board races is April 12.

“The deadline to register in any election is always 30 days prior to the election,” Bloom said. “The uncertainty surrounding the current primaries has no direct impact on the May 12 elections for cities, school boards and college trustee elections.”

Bloom urges area residents to go ahead and check their voter readiness now if they plan to take part in any of the upcoming elections.

“When we talk about an April 12 deadline, it sounds like we have plenty of time, so there's no hurry or worry,” Bloom said. “However, life can sometimes hand us a little more than we can handle, and that April deadline can sneak up on you. Regardless of which election — city, county, school board, even state offices — you plan to cast your ballot in, now is the time to go ahead and check on your voter status and take care of anything that needs to be handled before the April 12 deadline.”

Bloom said early voting in municipal and school board elections is set to run from April 30 until May 8.

“On May 1 and May 3, we'll have extended hours at the early voting polls, which will be located at the elections administration office on the third floor of the Howard County Courthouse,” Bloom said. “The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. — the same hours the polls are open on election day — on both dates. As always, our hope is the extended hours will give people who normally work during regular poll hours a chance to cast their ballots early.”

According to the Texas Secretary of State's website, March 13 is the first day residents can ask for a mail-in ballot, with May 4 the deadline to make the request.

“Voters who are 65 and older, disabled or will be out of the county and unavailable to vote during early voting or election day can apply for a ballot by mail,” Bloom said. “If you want to apply, you need to contact the elections office so we can mail out the form. Voters must request this application, it won't automatically be sent out.”

Big Spring voters will have plenty to weigh in on in this year's election, as the District 2, 4 and 6 seats are up for grabs. Also on the ballot will be a proposed 4B project to overhaul the municipality's water and wastewater facilities, as well as replace a portion of the city's main water lines.

The proposed project — if approved by voters — would have the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation provide the majority of the funding, which amounts to $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. Overall, the EDC has agreed to fund a maximum of $13 million for the project.

The Big Spring EDC is designated a 4A corporation by the state of Texas, making it necessary for the city to get voter approval before diverting its funding — which comes through sales tax revenues — before moving forward with a 4B project.

Election day is set for May 12. For more information on voter registration, contact Bloom at 264-2273.

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