Early voting starts Monday in city, school, constitutional amendment elections

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Apr. 29, 2007 - Early voting begins Monday in area elections, including those for seats on the Sulphur Springs City Council, and Sulphur Springs, Como-Pickton, North Hopkins, Yantis and Cumby school boards. There will also be an election to decide a constitutional amendment affectomg ad valorem tax rates on elderly and disabled individuals' homesteads.

Election officials are emphasizing to voters this year that they MUST have either their voter registration card or driver's license for identification. One voting official stressed that it was a requirement by the Texas Secretary of State, which oversees all elections in the state.

Sulphur Springs City Council/SSISD

Early voting in the Sulphur Springs City Council and school board elections will be held weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30-May 8, at the Sulphur Springs Municipal Building, 125 South Davis St., according to SSISD Elections Official Judy Gregg.

Requests for applications for ballots by mail may be made to City Secretary Gayle Roberts, 125 South Davis St. Applications must be received no later than the close of business on May 4.

The general election for these two boards will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, in the board room of Sulphur Springs Administration Building, 630 Connally St.

Other school elections

Visit the school administration offices to cast ballots in Cumby, North Hopkins, Yantis  and Como-Pickton's trustee races.

In Yantis, there are three candidates for a one-year unexpired term:  Arlan Jaeger, Kristina Shoemaker and Corey Ogle. There is also a two-year unexpired term with two candidates — Ron McKinney and Betty Caudle. Voters will choose two of the six candidates — Amber Burnett, Mike Kenney, incumbent Bo West, Karen Dodgen, Tommy Davis and Nathan Crist — running for two three-year seats.

At Como-Pickton, there are three school board seats up for election. Incumbents Brad Carr, Gerald Walters and Abbie Wright are challenged by Tom Hendricks, a market manager at Brookshire's; Mike Mundt, dairyman and milk truck company operator; and Sherrie France, an operations manager at a local business.

In Cumby, three candidates will vie for two full-term seats on that board. Incumbents Jody Jarvis, a manager with Pilgrim's Pride, and Jason Hudson, a teacher at Mesquite ISD, are challenged by Samuel Gomez, a powerline supervisor.

North Hopkins' ballot will include six candidates for three full-term positions. Incumbents Brent McQueen, Ricky Glosup and Edgar Clemens are challenged by Randy Harris, RaDona Adams and Lori Ferrell Timko.

Constitutional Amendment

Early voting in the constitutional amendment election will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, May 8, at the County Clerk's Office, in the courthouse annex at 306 North Davis Street.

Polling places for the May 12 general election for the constitutional amendment will be a bit different this year, as there will only be one polling location per precinct on election day.

Voters in Precint 1 will vote at City Hall for the constitutional election.  Those people who would normally vote at the Lutheran Church on Texas Street, at Miller Grove Community Center, Brashear Community Center and Arbala Community Center will have to visit Sulphur Springs City Hall, 125 South Davis St., to cast a ballot on May 12 in the constitutional amendment election.

Those who usually vote at the VFW Hall, at Reilly Springs Community Center, Como Community Center and Pickton Community Center will all cast ballots at the Senior Citizens Center, 150 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, on May 12.

New Beginnings Fellowship Baptist Church at 155 North Jackson St. has been designated on May 12 as the polling place for those who normally vote at Miracle Revival Church, Saltillo Community Center, Sulphur Bluff Community Center, Weaver Baptist Church and  Dike Community Center.

Precinct 4 voters who would normally cast ballots at First Christian Church, Cumby Community Center, North Hopkins school and the Ridgeway County Barn will need to vote League Street Church of Christ, 1100 S. League St.

The county clerk encourages voters to cast their ballots early when possible, as new voting regulations will mean longer times to verify voter information and longer lines waiting to cast ballots on May 12.

Sulphur Springs ISD election official Judy Gregg reminds that all voters will be required to present either a valid driver's license or their voter certificate, as the Secretary of State's Office is cracking down on that voting requirement.

What is Amendment No 1 (SJR No. 13)?

This amendment would change Texas Constitution "to provide for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for public school purposes on the homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect any reduction in the rate of those taxes for the 2006 and 2007 tax years."

Essentially, while ad valorem tax rates for many home and property owners fell for tax year 2006 and is expected to continue to do so at the base rate, many elderly and disabled homeowners didn't see a drop. This could mean less to be paid overall by many.

However, because many of those individuals' taxes were limited and fixed, they were not subjected to increased others saw in prior years when the tax rate was increased. If the ad valorem tax rate was to increase in the future, the tax rate for the elderly and disabled homeowners in question would remain frozen at the new rate, according to Texas Legislative Council.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick chaired the amendment proposition, and Milton Rister acted as executive director.

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