Runoff produces surprise turnout; Polling places consolidated

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

Clay County voters have broken a long-standing trend this year, turning out in larger-than-expected numbers for a primary runoff that involves no local races.

On Monday, Clay County Clerk Sasha Kelton said that 210 ballots had been cast in early voting alone. Two years ago, in the 2010 Republican Party runoff, only 66 ballots were cast in early voting and on election day combined.

Early voting ended on Friday, with 200 voters in the Republican runoff and 10 voters in the Democratic runoff.

A contentious runoff between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison as the Republican Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate is likely the reason for the heavy turnout. Both candidates have campaigned heavily in Clay County.

Residents casting ballots today will be voting in one single consolidated precinct, at the Clay County Senior Citizens Center.  The center is located at 216 N. Hancock St., in Henrietta.

The decision to consolidate polling places was based on voter turnout in 2010.

“With little interest from the voters, the cost of opening more than one polling place outweighs the benefit,” said Kelton.

Effective Sept. 1, 2011, HB 1528 authorized the county to consolidate voting precincts into a single precinct, and deleted previous text requiring at least one consolidated precinct in each commissioner’s precinct.

The consolidation was a collective decision made among Clay County Republican and Democratic Party Chairs Rob Robinson and Joan Schaffner, and Kelton.  The Department of Justice Elections Division approved the consolidation.

All 16 polling places will be open for the November 2012 General Election.

Runoff elections are as follows:

Republican

Federal

United States Senator

  • Ted Cruz
  • David Dewhurst

State

Railroad Commissioner

  • Warren Chisum
  • Christi Craddick

Railroad Commissioner, Unexpired Term

  • Barry Smitherman
  • Greg Parker

Justice Supreme Court, Place 4

  • John Devine
  • David Medina

Democratic

Federal

United States Senator

  • Paul Sadler

Grady Yarbrough

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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