|Interest in contested races reflected in brisk early voting|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Oct. 28, 2006 - Early voting continued at a steady pace this week, with 1,105 people casting ballots as of Friday evening, election officials said.
On Monday, the first day of early voting, 209 voters cast their ballots at the polling center inside the courthouse annex at the old Houston Elementary School building on College Street. That's only about half the number of votes cast two years ago, but 2004 was also a presidential election year, which traditionally brings out more voters.
Monday's early vote count was 50 percent higher than in 2002, when 139 people voted in Hopkins County the first day.
Officials said a higher turnout is expected this year due to the number of contested local races, including the elections for county judge, county court-at-law judge, county treasurer and state representative.
�The race for Hopkins County judge pits Democratic incumbent Cletis Millsap, who is seeking his third term, against Republican challenger Jason Cunningham.
The race for Hopkins County Court-At-Law has the Democratic incumbent facing a challenge from a Republican Party nominee. Current Court-at-Law Judge Amy McCorkle Smith, a former assistant district attorney who was elected court-at-law judge in 1996, is being challenged by Republican nominee Eddie Northcutt, a former Sulphur Springs Independent School District board member and local attorney.
The third local race is for a new Hopkins County Treasurer to replace Betty Bassham, who has announced her retirement. The candidates are Republican Party nominee Cheryl Fulcher, coordinator for Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Robert Newsom, and Democratic Party nominee Treva Watson, who is the assistant county auditor.
The race for state representative between incumbent Democrat Mark Homer and Republican challenger Kirby Hollingsworth is also on the ballot.
The two faced off in 2004 when Homer won a fourth term in the state House of Represenatives, defeating Hollingsworth by 24,167 votes to 23,854 in the District 3 race, which includes Hopkins, Delta, Franklin, Lamar, Red River and Titus counties.
Hollingsworth took 6,274 votes in Hopkins County to 5,210 for Homer.
Early voting was held today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and continues Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Early voting will continue daily through Friday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with all voting will be conducted at the courthouse annex.
During the early voting period, any registered voter may cast a ballot in person, just as in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The county clerk's office will continue to accept applications for a ballot to be voted by mail through Tuesday, Oct. 31. All applications to vote by mail must be received in the early voting clerk's office before the close of business that day. Applications to vote by mail may be submitted by mail or by fax.
Voting in the general election begins on Tuesday, November 7, at 7 a.m. and concludes at 7 p.m. at the 21 designated voting centers throughout the county.
County residents should also note that the county clerk's office will be closed on Nov. 7 for all business except the election.
County polling places by precinct designation are as follows:
1 - Lutheran Church, 1000 Texas St., Sulphur Springs
1A - City Hall, 125 S. Davis St., Sulphur Springs
2 - VFW Hall-Women's building, 1103 Whitworth St., Sulphur Springs
2A - Senior Citizens Building, 150 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Sulphur Springs
3 - New Beginnings Church, 155 North Jackson St., Sulphur Springs
3A - Miracle Revival Church, 1318 North Jackson St., Sulphur Springs
4 - Fellowship Christian Church, 207 North Davis St., Sulphur Springs
4A - League Street Church of Christ, 1100 South League St., Sulphur Springs
5 - Saltillo Community Center, FM 900, Saltillo; 8 - Reilly Springs Community Center, 503 County Road 2439, Sulphur Springs
11 - Cumby Community Center and Fire Station, 101 Main St., Cumby
12 - Sulphur Bluff Community Center, 60 FM 71, Sulphur Bluff
13 - Como Community Center, downtown Como
14 - Pickton Community Center, 521 County Road 417, Pickton
16 - Miller Grove Community Center, 658 FM 275, Cumby
17 - North Hopkins School, 1994 FM 71 west, Sulphur Springs
20 - Ridgeway County Barn, State Highway 11 west, Sulphur Springs
23 - Weaver Baptist Church, 782 County Road 531, Saltillo
24 - Dike Community Center, 674 FM 69 south, Dike
25 - Brashear Community Center, 160 FM 2653, Brashear
36 - Arbala Community Center, 550 FM 567, Yantis