Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


April 5, 2014

Paper ballots still on tap for runoff

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Although other Texas counties have suspended use of paper ballots for elections, Cherokee County will continue to use paper ballots, according to County Elections Administrator Shannon Cornelius.

Some concerns were raised after county Republican Party Club chairman Jerry Rix originally decided to nix paper ballots “because we've got voting machines – a little bit better than half the people who vote use the machine, so it's kind of useless to have paper ballots,” he explained.

However, after being contacted by local Sen. Robert Nichols and Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis, who both “asked me to rescind that decision,” Rix concurred.

“To me, the decision to not use paper ballots was strictly a finance decision that would save us money, but they wanted to have paper ballots for the runoff. I have a great amount of respect for both of them, so I agreed to use them,” he said.

Cornelius said use of paper ballots “have never gone away; we've always offered them” in Cherokee County elections.

However, she added, “many surrounding counties don't offer paper ballots” for financial reasons.

“Because when you order so many ballots, you basically have a lot of unused ballots at the end of the election, and it would save a lot of money if a county went strictly to machines,” Cornelius said.

Ultimately, the cost comes out of residents' pockets, Rix said.

“The party pays (for a primary election) to the extent that it is financed by filing fees, but if those fees fall short – and they always do – the difference (to fund the election) comes from the Secretary of State's office, which is taxpayer money,” he said. “You can never really anticipate the number of ballots you'll need, and so you always end up at the end of the election throwing away unused paper ballots. And a lot of counties don't (use paper ballots for that reason). And this was my thought; it was strictly a financial decision to use only machines.”

Early voting for the May 27 primary runoff will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 19 through 23. Voters can cast ballots at the Cherokee County Elections Department, 138 W. 5th St. in Rusk; Jacksonville Public Library, 502 S. Jackson; or Alto First Baptist Church, 235 E. San Antonio St.

Residents have until April 28 to vote in the May runoff.

According to Alicia Pierce, spokeswoman for the Texas Secretary of State's Office, the state election law says that “once you chose a party for the primary season, you have to stick with it. So if you vote in the Republican primary, you can only vote in Republican runoff; if you vote in the Democratic primary, you can only vote in a Democratic primary runoff.”

However, one does not have to have voted in a primary election to vote in a primary runoff, she added.

“The main idea is that you don't get to participate in two different parties in the primary process,” Pierce explained.

Cornelius said residents can access information via the county website's Election Department page – www.co.cherokee.tx.us – the Election Department's Facebook page or by visiting the office in Rusk.

Text Only
  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo