Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 9, 2013

Early voting numbers annihilate last election’s total votes

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Early voting concluded Tuesday with as many as 585 voters casting ballots for the May 11 municipal and school election.

“This is almost at 10 percent (of registered voters) and we haven't even gotten to election day yet,” explained City Secretary Betty Thompson.”Of those 585, exactly half – 293 of them – were voters from District 3.”

The two District 3 City Council candidates are incumbent Councilman Bill McDonald and challenger Phil Huttash, a former Jacksonville volunteer fire fighter who has owned Huttash Paint and Body Shop since 1983.

It was evident the number of voters were increasing this political season when 242 voters had cast ballots during the first three days of early voting, earlier reports show.

Thompson declined to analyze the “why's” of the increasing turnout.

But some have speculated it is due to the unusual nature of a three-candidate mayoral race –  incumbent Kenneth Melvin, 72, and challengers Rob Gowin, 44,  and William Igbokwe, 23.

Thompson said turn-out and voting continues in a very smooth manner.

“There is more participation and more voting and more awareness,” she said.

“The only time the turnout was higher than this was when we had our liquor election. Any of the mayoral elections we had before were mostly eight to 10 percent – after the entire election. Not just at the end of early voting.”

Jacksonville will conduct a municipal election on May 11.

A joint election has been called by the City of Alto and the local school district.

There are municipal races in  New Summer-field and school board races on that city's school campus. Rusk ISD is holding an election, as is the Troup ISD.

Additionally, there are school board elections in Wells.