General election features local, national issues

A commissioners race and the future direction of Big Spring's economic development corporation are decisions local voters will make Tuesday, but they aren't the only issues that will impact Howard Countians.Also on the ballot is the obvious presidential election featuring Democratic incumbent Barak Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.A bit closer to home is the race for U.S. Senator between Democrat Paul Sadler and Republican Ted Cruz.Races for Railroad Commissioner, Supreme Court Justice and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge are also on Tuesday's ballot.Voters have only one local race to decide the fate of, as the Precinct 1 seat on the Howard County Commissioners is contested with long-time Democratic incumbent Emma Brown facing Republican challenger Oscar Garcia.The only other local issue on the ballot is aimed at balloters living within the Big Spring city limits, as the municipal government is providing voters the opportunity to do away with the existing 4A economic development in favor of a new 4B economic development corporation.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 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 with voter approval. With a Type B corporation, no such vote from the public 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.Despite the local issues, the battle between Obama and Romney is probably drawing the most attention, according to Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom.“Almost everyone who came in to register to vote said they were doing so because of the presidential contest,” Bloom said. “It's definitely driving this election. We've registered 427 new voters since Aug. 1, which is really an astounding number.“During early voting we collected 5,747 ballots. Of that total, 5,211 were cast in-person and 536 were mail-in ballots, which accounts for 33.98 percent of the registered voters in Howard County. That's pretty impressive, although it's still down approximately 250 ballots from the 2008 presidential election.”Polls at various locations in the county will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.For more information on the election, call 432-264-2273.