Early voting begins Monday at public library
By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor
Oct. 19, 2008 - Voters across the state will be heading to the poles beginning Monday, the first day to vote early in person. All Hopkins County voters casting early ballots will be doing so at one location for all races.
The temporary early voting site in Hopkins County is Sulphur Springs Public Library, 611 North Davis St. Ballots will be cast in the meeting room on the right as you enter the library. Those unfamiliar with the library can simply look for signs starting in front of the library, directing voters to the polling location. Parking will be available at either end of the building. Please do not block the front entrance.
Sample ballots are available by request at the County Clerk's Office, located at 306 North Davis St. Ballots are available for all county, district, state and U.S. elections, as well as for Como-Pickton, Cumby and Miller Grove school district's rollback tax elections, and for Sulphur Bluff, Miller Grove and Saltillo's school board elections.
Early voting in person will continue weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 31 at Sulphur Springs Public Library, with four exceptions. Early voting will also be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25; from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26; and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 and Thursday, Oct. 30.
"I encourage voters to take advantage of the convenience afforded by the early voting period," said Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade "We anticipate a large voter turnout for the general election. By voting early you can avoid the long lines we expect to see on Election Day. My office has worked with county officials across the state and they are definitely prepared for such an important election."
Texas currently has 13.4 million registered voters. To prepare for the expected high turnout, Secretary Andrade has joined with several counties across the state to encourage Texans to vote early.
Andrade also wants to remind voters to bring their voter registration certificate with them to the polls to expedite the voter check-in process; however, if their registration certificate is unavailable, the voter will still be allowed to vote with a valid I.D.
"It is our goal to ensure that every election in Texas is fair and credible and we believe that on Nov. 5, we will proudly look back on Election Day as a positive experience," said Andrade.
Hopkins County Clerk Debbie Shirley also encourages voters to take advantage of the early voting period to avoid longer lines, and also asks voter to please have their orange voter cards or some form of ID in hand when voting.
It helps election officials locate the name on the list of registered voters as well as speeds up the line of voters waiting their turn at to vote. The length of wait time is reduced if voters have their voter cards or ID out when entering the building instead of having to dig it out of wallets, bags or clutches.
"Voters will have to have identification when voting," said County Clerk Debbie Shirley, who currently serves as the county's elections administrator. "It really speeds up the process and makes the line go smoother if voter will help out by having their stuff ready."
Hopkins County voters planning to vote by mail must mail their application in time that they are received in the clerk's office by Tuesday, Oct. 28. Ballots for voting by mail must be mailed within the United States must be received by the clerk's office no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. Applications for a ballot to be voted by mail should be sent to Debbie Shirley, Early Voting Clerk, P.O. Box 288, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482. Call Shirley's office at (903)438-4074 for information.
Voter maps which include school and other precinct voting districts should be available online on the county website: http://www.hopkinscountytx.org/ Monday. Currently information about voting places are available by clicking on either the "November 4, 2008 Voting Places" or "Click here to view voting locations" on the main page of the county website. The main page also includes a table listing important dates pertaining to the Nov. 4 election.
For questions pertaining to voting, including locations, dates and times, do not call the library. Direct all questions to County Clerk Debbie Shirley's office at 903-438-4074.