Props amendment election drawing little interest here

Early voting in this year’s constitutional amendment election wrapped up Friday with vote tallies falling just shy of results from the previous amendment contest two years ago, according to Howard County election officials.Approximately 275 ballots were cast — including mail-in ballots — according to County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom, putting the election on track to come close to the 600-plus ballots cast in the 2009 contest.“I think we’ll most likely come out a little bit behind the 2009 numbers, but it should be fairly close,” Bloom said. “Now we have to concentrate on closing the early voting polls and getting ready for Election Day, which is Tuesday.”Bloom said it’s unclear what kind of turnout she and her team of election officials will be able to expect Tuesday, but one thing is for certain: They will be ready.“You know going into an amendment election you’re going to have a much lower turnout than an election that features local or state candidates, or even bond issues,” Bloom said. “None of the amendments have really stood out thus far in the media this year, either, so there’s very little to drive the election. However, we’ll have the polls open and ready Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., regardless of whether they are deserted or packed with people.”Among the proposed amendments included in the election is Proposition No. 1 (SJR 14), which would amend the constitution to authorize the legislature to provide the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran with an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the surviving spouse’s residence homestead as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried, the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the qualifying veteran died, and the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.”According to Bloom, Proposition 1 is the closest Howard County has to a hot-button topic in the election.“Most of the people who have had a comment to make while casting their ballots have had something to say about Proposition 1,” Bloom said. “More than anything, voters this time around have questions about the propositions and what they are supposed to accomplish.”Polling places for Tuesday’s election are:• Howard County Road and Bridge Administration Office, 1000 N. San Antonio (behind the Dairy Queen), Precincts 11-14 (including 12A), 16 and 103-105.• Big Spring Mall, 1801 E. FM 700, Precincts 24-26, 205 and 208-209.• First Baptist Church, 507 W. FM 700, Precincts 32-35, 37 and 304.• Dorothy Garrett Coliseum on the Howard College campus, Kentucky Way and Birdwell Lane, Precincts 42, 45-46, 404 and 406.• Coahoma Community Center, 306 North Ave. in Coahoma, Precincts 207, 207C, 408 and 409.Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. For more information, contact Bloom at 432-264-2273.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at