Polls open today

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Officials hope for good turnout on election day as contests near end

Voters decide a number of local issues today.

How many show up to the polls remains to be seen.

Although not all cities and schools have elections in Denton County today, only about 2 percent of eligible voters cast ballots during early voting.

Because about 40 percent of the turnout usually comes during early voting, and the other 60 percent on election day, Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips estimated that about 9,000 people would show up to vote today.

“Let’s hope I’m wrong, and turnout is way higher than that,” Phillips said.

For the city of Denton election, 50 percent of the early voters came out the last two days of early voting. But those 1,365 early voters also reflected the second-lowest early voting turnout in the last six years.

Only the City Council races of 2011 brought fewer people to the polls during early voting.

Council member Kevin Roden, who is unopposed this year, has followed voter turnout in local elections for several years and released some of his data on Twitter and his political blog, http://rodenfordenton.com.

Today’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.

Lackluster turnout hasn’t kept candidates from raising and spending money on the race, however.

In reports filed May 3, Denton City Council candidates showed they had raised about $15,600 between them. City Council hopeful Joey Hawkins raised more than $7,200 for his race. Hawkins also reported $7,095 in expenses, outspending his opponent in District 4, Phil Kregel, nearly 5-to-1.

In District 3, incumbent Jim Engelbrecht stepped up fundraising and has outspent one of his opponents, Brendan Carroll, by about $300 so far, records showed.

Griffen Rice, a University of North Texas student also running for District 3, reported spending $50 on the campaign so far, a distant third to what Engelbrecht ($1,650) and Carroll ($1,345) have spent.

District 3 saw the most “new” voters, or people who have voted for the first time in four years of municipal elections, Roden found. More than one-third of the 256 “new” voters cast ballots in District 3.

The average age of new voters was about 49.

Today, voters must cast ballots in their voting precinct. Precinct numbers are provided on individual voter registration cards, or voters can look up their registration online.

Mayoral races in Justin, Krum, Northlake and Shady Shores and council races in Argyle, Bartonville, Corinth, Cross Roads, Northlake, Oak Point, Pilot Point, Sanger and Shady Shores will also be decided today. 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.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Below are the top fundraisers, top spenders and top donors as reported by candidates in the second reporting period for the election today. Final reports are due July 15. (I) denotes incumbent

 

Top fundraisers

Joey Hawkins, Denton District 4: $4,995

Jim Engelbrecht (I), Denton District 3: $1,265

Dalton Gregory (I), Denton District 2: $825

Bruce Hanson (I), Corinth Place 5: $740

Mike Amason, Corinth Place 5: $700

Top spenders

Jim Engelbrecht (I), Denton District 3: $1,650.06

Mike Amason, Corinth Place 5: $1,455.38

Dalton Gregory (I), Denton District 2: $1,440.17

Bruce Hanson (I), Corinth Place 5: $1,247.06

Brendan Carroll, Denton District 3: $1,109.83

Top donors

TREPAC (Texas Association of Realtors Political Action Committee): $1,500 to Joey Hawkins

Orison Holdings LLC: $1,000 to Hawkins

Tim Shoopman: $500 to Phil Kregel, Denton District 4

Denton Firefighters Association: $500 to Hawkins

Point Bank: $500 to Hawkins


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