Problems At The Polls

by Jessica Cervantez

About 20% of Angelina County's registered voters showed up at the polls. Some of them ended up going home without getting a chance to vote.

Almost 10,000 registered voters cast ballots in Angelina County. Eleven of the 18 polling locations ran out of ballots before the doors were closed. Some voters had to wait until new ballots arrived.

Election Administrator Bill Shanklin said, "We had people going in every direction. We would send a runner with what we thought would be ample ballots, but they would need more ballots before they made it back."

Shanklin says it is difficult to know how many ballots to order. He only had past elections to go by. In 2003, only about 10% of registered voters showed up. If he orders too many ballots, it can cost the county a lot of money.

"We've had several elections where each vote costs the county $3. That runs into a lot of money. The actual ballot costs $.30," Shanklin said.

That money can add up. He apologizes if anyone had to wait in long lines because, after the ballots ran out, more had to be photocopied. He plans to make sure the county never runs out of ballots again.

Shanklin said, "It won't happen to me again. I can guarantee you that, because we will have a machine that makes the ballots."

While there were some problems, Shanklin hopes everyone who wanted to vote was able to vote.

Some places in Nacogdoches County also ran out of ballots, forcing election officials to photocopy more ballots. Apparently, the ballot shortage was a state-wide problem.