Few cast early ballots

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Slate of races draws about 2 percent of eligible voters so far

Denton County voters had only trickled into the polls when early voting ended Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a little more than 7,500 of the county’s estimated 380,000 voters had cast ballots for local elections since April 29. Not all area cities and school districts have elections Saturday, but the slow pace suggested about 2 percent of eligible voters will have taken advantage of early voting.

Polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday and close at 7 p.m.

Unlike early voting, during which any Denton County voter was able to cast a ballot at any early voting location, voters who wait until Saturday must cast ballots in their voting precinct, said Frank Phillips, county elections administrator.

Precinct numbers are provided on individual voter registration cards, or voters can look up their registration online. All voting precinct locations are listed on the department’s website, http://elections.dentoncounty.com.

One issue, related to recent address changes for some voters, emerged in November’s election and has popped up again.

Denton resident Shaun Treat saw it as he cast his ballot early, when his friend, who moved recently, was provided a provisional ballot. It concerned Treat a little when he learned that his friend’s voter registration address was supposed to have been updated along with the driver’s license change.

When residents change their address for their driver’s license, they can check a box authorizing the change for voter registration as well, Phillips said. However, he said, the changes haven’t always been forthcoming from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“When it comes to your voter registration, we always tell people it’s safer to contact us and let us know the change,” Phillips said.

Poll workers are accustomed to handling the matter, however. Even if a voter’s address can’t be verified on the spot, casting a provisional ballot takes only a few extra minutes because it includes the steps that update the registration, Phillips said.

Both provisional ballots and mail-in ballots are turned over to the county’s ballot board, which evaluates the voters’ registration information and the type of ballot they were provided. As long as the registration and ballot information checks out, the ballot is counted. Either way, a provisional voter receives a letter in the mail about the ballot board’s determination, Phillips said.

Saturday’s election includes three contested races for Denton City Council and two contested races for the Denton school board. Denton also has a proposition seeking voter approval to form a natural gas utility in the city’s industrial park.

Mayoral races in Krum and Justin and council races in Argyle and Corinth will also be decided Saturday. Voters in the Argyle and Lake Dallas school districts will decide school board races, too.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

 


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