Polls see minimal activity

Early voting in this year’s political party primaries remained slow this week, as the first week at the polls came to a close Friday with slightly more than 500 ballots cast in Howard County.Balloting started slow with just 86 ballots — including both Republican and Democratic polls — cast at the polls Monday and another 92 tallied in mail-in ballots, according to County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom.Unfortunately, the rest of the week would either fail to live up to Monday’s total or only come close, with 405 total ballots reported when the polls closed Thursday, and 527 as the first week of early voting came to a close Friday afternoon.According to Bloom, the totals are well below what she had expected going into this primary.“We had really hoped things would pick up toward the end of this week, but it just didn’t happen,” Bloom said. “This is quite a bit slower than we were expecting. However, a lot of that can likely be attributed to the time of the month. May is a tough time for elections. Parents are tied up with their children’s activities and graduations, and there has been a lot going on out of town.”Bloom said her hope is voting will pick up next week, as early voting wraps up at 5 p.m. Friday.“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Bloom said. “We’ll be offering extended hours Tuesday and Thursday until 7 p.m. We do this to try to make early voting accessible to folks who can’t get away from work between traditional work hours.”All other days, the polls are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the County Elections Office, located on the third floor of the county courthouse.Seats up for election in the 2012 election include 118th Judicial District Attorney, currently held by Hardy Wilkerson; Howard County sheriff, currently held by Stan Parker; county attorney, held by Joshua Hamby; tax assessor collector, held by Kathy Sayles; Precinct 3 county commissioner, held by Jimmie Long; and Precinct 1 county commissioner, held by Emma Brown.Parker is running for re-election, as are Long, Green and Wilkerson. Parker has drawn an opponent in local resident M.O. Horton. The two are facing off on the Republican ticket, with the winner to go uncontested in the November election.Brown has drawn a trio of challengers. Howard County Jailer Larry Torres, former Big Spring City Council member Oscar Garcia and Ed Ware, who has attempted to unseat the longtime commissioner previously, are also vying for the Precinct 1 seat on the court.Brown faces Torres in the Democratic primary, while Garcia and Ware will compete for the Republican nomination for the seat. The winner of the party nominations will go head-to-head in November.Longtime Tax Collector and Assessor Kathy Sayles is not running for re-election. However, Diane Carter, an employee of tax collection office, is running unopposed for the office on the Republican ticket.Also running unopposed are Long, Green and Wilkerson. All three are running on the Republican ticket.For more information on the upcoming elections, contact the Howard County Elections Administration at 432-264-2273.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at citydesk@bigspringherald.com