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March 11, 2014

Voting officials explain runoff election process

CHEROKEE COUNTY — As Cherokee County residents prepare for a May 27 primary runoff between County Court-at-Law candidates Kelly Peacock and Janice Crosby Stone, election officials are reminding them of voter eligibility.

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.

“If you did not vote at all in the primary, you can vote in a runoff for either party,” reiterated Connie Quine, Cherokee County chief deputy voter registrar.

Preparing for an upcoming runoff is nothing new to her office, whether it's a primary or regular election.

“If you ever have more than two opponents in a race, you're going to have a runoff because you can't get a majority vote in a three-way race, unless it's a total landslide,” Quine said. “That would be like a candidate carrying 93 percent of the vote and the rest of his opponents making up the other 8 percent of the votes – that's a landslide.”

She added that “almost every primary election we have had a runoff because a lot of candidates come out. Usually, if we have more than two names on a ballot, we're going to have a run-off.”

Peacock – who was appointed interim judge in December when sitting judge Craig Fletcher unexpected tendered his resignation – received 39.07 percent of the 3,023 ballots cast (1,181 votes) during the March 4 primary, according to unofficial results released by the Cherokee County Election Department.

Stone followed closely behind, with 38.07 percent, or 1,151 votes.

A third political candidate, Daniel Boone Childs, had 691 votes, or 22.86 percent.

Early voting in the primary runoff is slated from May 19-23; runoff election day is May 27.

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