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Early voting tops 2011 total turnout

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Local issues help draw people to polls for amendment election

Denton County voters will go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the Texas constitutional amendment election, and residents of 11 jurisdictions will decide the outcome of local issues ranging from bond proposals to alcohol sales.

Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips said early voting saw 12,537 people pass through the polls. That number, he said, represents a 3.27 percent turnout of registered voters for early voting. Early voting in the last constitutional amendment election, in 2011, drew 4,579 people, a turnout of 1.29 percent.

Early voting totals exceeded the entire turnout for the 2011 election, when only 2.99 percent of registered voters showed at the polls, Phillips said.

The last day of early voting, Phillips said, proved to be a busy one, with 2,569 voters casting ballots Friday, 519 of them at the county elections office polling site in Denton.

“I am hopeful that this is a good sign that we will have a good turnout on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 5,” he said.

Residents in the Denton school district are being asked to vote for or against a $312 million bond package. If approved, the measure would fund a fourth comprehensive high school slated for construction along the U.S. Highway 380 Corridor, the district’s 23rd and 24th elementary schools, an eighth middle school, a ninth-grade addition at Guyer High School, renovations at 17 campuses, energy conservation improvements and land acquisition.

Phillips reported 4,036 early votes were cast in the area covered by the Denton school district.

People living within the Lewisville school district are being asked to elect a candidate to an unexpired term on the school board. Angie Cox, Tracy Scott Miller and Paige Shoven are all vying for the at-large seat, left vacant in August by Mark Welding. The term will expire in May 2016.

The city of Krum will try for a second time to get bonds passed to allow for the construction of a new fire station and a public works building.

The town of Flower Mound has a $16 million bond item before voters. If approved, the proposition would create a River Walk Public Improvement District and pay for the district’s improvements.

Phillips said he believes the bond elections are key factors driving voter turnout.

“Both Denton ISD and the town of Flower Mound have bond propositions on the ballot, and I’m sure it’s not just coincidence that the Denton and Flower Mound early voting locations were the two sites with the highest voter turnout,” he said Saturday. “I’m sure this will be the same on Tuesday and would anticipate that the Denton ISD and Flower Mound polling locations will again see higher turnouts.”

Bartonville seeks to fill two of its Town Council positions. Two residents have applied for each spot: Randy Van Alstine and Jeff Traylor are seeking Place 1, while Richard Yerxa and Gary A. Marco filed for Place 4.

Hickory Creek has two items on the ballot: one to legalize the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants, and the other to reauthorize the town’s local sales and use tax at the rate of one-fourth of 1 percent to continue providing revenue for maintenance and repair of streets.

Voters throughout the state are being asked to consider nine amendments to the Texas Constitution.

Dianne Edmondson, head of the Denton County Republican Party, said the propositions are often listed in legal jargon and encouraged voters to visit the website of the Texas Legislative Council,, where she said unbiased opinions on the the pros and cons of each amendment are listed.

“I would encourage people to get out and vote and show their love of the community and the state,” she said.

Phyllis Wolper, Edmondson’s Democratic counterpart, said while these kinds of elections don’t get as much publicity as campaigns for president or governor, they are certainly important to the residents of Texas and Denton.

“These propositions directly affect our quality of life, especially when they have to do with something as essential as water to drink and bonds to build schools,” she said. “Education is highly important to us, not only for our children’s sake, but we have to offer decent education to attract new business and industry to create new jobs. Many of these items to vote on are extremely important to us and our future.”

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Staff writers Megan Gray and Britney Tabor contributed to this report.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 or via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.