East Texas election officials seeing spike in early voters

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It's a dirty election season in Texas.

Rick Perry and Bill White are pulling out all the stops in negative campaign commercials. Local state house candidate James White is trying to unseat incumbent Jim McReynolds. Plus, a slew of propositions is energizing registered voters producing a spike in early voting.

"I've already gone and voted today," said Marshall Inman. "As a matter of fact, I did it probably an hour ago. I think it's great that the state does something like that for the individuals who don't have time to do it on November 2."

Election officials set up another polling location in Angelina County Friday hoping to bring in more early birds.

"We started out Monday morning with about 12 to 15 people in line and every day it's been pretty steady," said Angelina County Elections Administrator Thelma "Midget" Sherman.

During early voting, to make it easy on voters, people can vote at any polling location in their county like the sub-courthouses in Huntington, Diboll, and Zavalla.

"It gives everybody an opportunity over a period of time to vote, you're not scrambling," said Edward Gaskill.

Already, more than 3,000 people have cast their vote in Angelina County and about 2,000 in Nacogdoches County.

"The interest this time is a lot higher," said Sherman. "They seem to be getting out and moving, so whatever it is, it seems as though the parties are working harder."

On the first day of early voting, Sherman said her county had more than 740 voters show up, many of them younger.

"Typically it is the older people, the seniors, they've been around, been through wars, they know what their vote means to them and the younger ones, they're beginning to get an interest as well," Sherman explained.

"I think that has to do with more people learning at an early age about what's going on around them," said Inman. "Now days we have media, we have the Internet."

No one expects all 47,000 registered voters in Angelina County to turnout, but the big numbers are encouraging.

"I mean the cost is the same, the time is the same, you know so it makes it worth its while for at least the people to turn out," said Sherman.

"You might as well take advantage of it, you're paying for it anyway," Inman said.

Nacogdoches and Angelina County have extended their hours so East Texans can cast their ballot.

At the Angelina County Courthouse Annex, early voters can show up Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Next Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., people can vote at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex.

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