Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 5, 2013

Residents have hard time finding voting location

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — A great many local residents who turned up at the Jacksonville Public Library to cast ballots in Tuesday's Jacksonville ISD and state constitutional amendment elections apparently were unaware they were in the wrong place to vote.

There were 41 Jacksonville residents who were in the right place to vote, precinct-wise, when they showed up  at the library, 502 S Jackson St, prior to 3:30 p.m.

But “at least”  50 others had to be redirected to the other polling places that served their respective precincts — such as First Christian Church, Cove Springs Community Church, New Hope Baptist Church, Mt. Haven CME Church, Art-Anon Building,  Old Elberta School near 1410 MLK Drive, and Afton Grove Baptist Church, election officials said.

 "Many of them thought they were all supposed to come to the library on Election Day because this is where all the early voting took place," explained Election Judge Lisa Allums.

Some of the voters indicated they would have expected to see more information regarding which precincts voted at which locations in local newspapers or on television news stations.

But Cherokee County Elections Coordinator Shannon Cornelius said Tuesday that this voting information has always been available —  constantly updated, for instance, on the county website and on a special Facebook page.

Also, area newspapers have been diligent in publishing information designed to help voters know where to go,  Cornelius said.

"This is definitely not new," Cornelius said. "This information has been around forever — two weeks early voting at one location and after that you vote at your polling precinct. This information is definitely out there."

Along those lines, the Jacksonville Daily Progress ran a list matching precincts with voting locations both online and in Tuesday's edition.

Allums, who  has spent the past three years volunteering to help in elections, said she hasn't run across this type of situation before. 

She added that the school bond issue seems to be driving voter interest this time around.

"I know this school board election pulled a lot of people out to vote, but I also know some of them were also surprised to learn there as a state amendment election going on as well," Allums said. "Turnout has been good, though. I've been very surprised."

In addition to Tuesday's Election Day results, a total of 811 early voters cast ballots in the Jacksonville ISD election while 1,006 turned out for the state constitutional issue, voting records show.