County voting centers ready for early voting next week
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Texas voters head to the polls starting next week for the March 3 Primary runoff election, which had been postponed from its original runoff date of May 26.
This will be the first time voters have the opportunity to cast ballots as the COVID-19 pandemic began the spread across the state of Texas.
Locally, voters can go to the Early Voting Centers in Gatesville and Copperas Cove, where there will be precautions in effect, said Coryell County Election Administrator Justin Carothers.
Voters do have the option to vote curbside, Carothers said.
“Curbside voting is always an option in Texas elections. They would just need to alert a pollworker that they need to vote curbside,” he said.
As for utilizing the new voting system which was unveiled and used in the March 3 primary, Carothers said there will be disposable styluses available to use at the voting machine.
“They are free to bring their own stylus. We cannot force anyone to wear a mask in the polling place but we do recommend it,” Carothers said. “We will be keeping the polling places and voting machines sanitized throughout the day and practicing social distancing.”
Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs issued the recommended minimum health protocols for Texas voters, which includes maintaining at least six feet separation from other individuals at the polling location, in addition to practicing measures such as hand hygiene and cough etiquette, as well as using hand sanitizer.
Hughs’ office recommended voters self-screen before going to a polling place for any of the signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19, and that voters who exhibit any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 when they arrive at a polling location may want to consider utilizing curbside voting.
Upon entering a polling place, it is recommended that voters disinfect hands before and after any interaction with election workers, poll watchers, or other individuals at the polling place and after using voting system equipment or marking a ballot.
Early voting polling locations include the Copperas Cove Early Voting Center, located at 508B Cove Terrace Shopping Center and at the Gatesville Main Street Annex, located at 801 E Leon St., Gatesville.
Early voting will begin on Monday, June 29 and continue through Friday, July 10.
Polls will be open daily Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., with the exception of extended hours from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20 and Tuesday, July 7. The polls will be closed on Friday, July 3.
Registered voters must present a form of identification to include a Texas driver’s license or identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Texas election identification certificate or Texas license to carry a handgun (also issued by DPS), a United States military identification card with photograph, or United States passport.
Voters who don’t have any of the above identification may fill out a declaration at the polls explaining why and bring one of the following supporting documents to include a valid voter registration certificate; certified birth certificate (must be an original); copy of or original current utility bill; copy of or original bank statement; copy of or original government check; copy of or original paycheck; copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph).
There are two local races in Coryell County to include the Texas State Representative seat and the Coryell County Commissioner Precinct 3.
In the race for Texas State Representative for District 59, incumbent Dr. J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville and opponent Shelby Slawson of Stephenville will be in a runoff. There is no democratic candidate for this election, so the primary will decide the winner.
In the March 3 Republican primary, Slawson received just over 45 percent of the vote, or 12,071 votes, and Sheffield received just over 30 percent, or 7,924 votes vote in District 59, which encompasses Coryell, Comanche, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba, and Somervell Counties. Sheffield was first elected to the office in 2012.
Precinct 3 Coryell County Commissioner candidates Ryan Basham and Justin Veazey will face each other in the runoff. Basham received just over 25 percent of the votes in the primary, with Justin Veazey following behind with nearly 21 percent. Likewise, this runoff election will decide the winner, who will replace longtime county commissioner Don Jones.