Early voting ends Friday

Time is running out for area voters looking to cast their ballots early in Tuesday's election, as early voting will wrap up Friday.At mid-week, approximately 4,239 ballots had been cast in the Crossroads area, accounting for more than one-quarter of the registered voters in the county, according to Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom.“When we started last week, there was a really big push the first coupe of days,” Bloom said. “However, as we got later in the week, things seemed to slow down a bit. This past Monday was also slower than we expected, with 347 ballots cast in person. However, Tuesday we had extended hours for early voting and tallied 514 ballots, with about 150 of them coming in after 5 p.m.”The extended hours — which the election office will be participating in again today and tonight — help many voters participate in early voting who might not otherwise have the chance, according to Bloom.“There are a lot of folks who simply can't get away from work between 8 a.m. And 5 p.m., so voting early just isn't an option,” Bloom said. “However, the extended hours — from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. — allows many residents to vote early and avoid the long lines on election day.”Early voting polls are located in the County Elections Office, located on the third floor of the county courthouse. The office is open 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday, when early voting will end.Voters will have only one local race to decide the fate of, as the Precinct 1 seat on the Howard County Commissioners is up for grabs with long time Democratic incumbent Emma Brown taking on Republican challenger Oscar Garcia.Brown defeated Howard County Jailer Larry Torres in the May primary, while Garcia defeated local resident Edwin Ware for the Republican nomination for the seat.The only other local issue on the ballot is aimed at Big Spring balloters, as the municipal government looks to give voters the chance to do away with the existing 4A economic development in favor of a new 4B economic development corporation.The council approved to send the issue to voters during its Aug. 14 meeting, doing so on a unanimous vote.The EDC sales tax was adopted by Big Spring voters May 5, 1990, and designated solely for use on Type A projects, which is restricted mainly to attracting employers and businesses to the Crossroads area and retaining jobs with existing employers.However, a Type B corporation has much looser restrictions placed on its spending, allowing for several other project types, including quality of life improvements such as professional and amateur sports and athletic facilities, related street, water and sewer facilities and affordable housing.According to Texas law, however, Type A corporations can still approve Type B projects; however, they are required to get voter approval to do so. With a Type B corporation, no such vote is required.The move to change the corporation to a 4B comes on the heels of a Type B project to revamp the city's water treatment and wastewater facilities, approved in May.For more information on early voting, contact Bloom at 264-2273.