Early voting in District 5 runoff ends today

Heading into the final day of early voting, polling totals for the Big Spring City Council District 5 election have gone pretty much as expected, officials said.Early voting ends today in the runoff election, which pits Raul Benavides vs. J.D. Smith to see who will succeed Craig Olson as District 5 council member.As of Friday afternoon, 93 persons had cast early ballots in the election, while another 12 had requested mail-in ballots, Howard County Election Administrator Saundra Bloom said.“That's pretty much to be expected this time of year,” Bloom said. “People are busy, what with the end of school and all. Hopefully, the totals will pick up some on election day (Saturday).”Benavides and Smith were the top two vote-getters in the District 5 election May 11, but a runoff was required when neither candidate earned more than 50 percent of the votes. Benavides received 44.2 percent of the votes, while Smith tallied 33.8 percent. A third candidate, Clint Collins, received almost 22 percent of votes cast in the election.Bloom said 423 people voted in the District 5 general election in May, but doubts Saturday's totals will meet or exceed that figure. For starters, there were other races on the May ballot that attracted voters' attention; additionally, runoff election totals usually fall short of general election figures, she said.Voters can cast ballots until 7 p.m. today in Bloom's office, located on the first floor of the county courthouse.The polling place for Saturday's runoff is Dorothy Garrett Coliseum. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.For more information, contact Bloom's office at 264-2273.