By Dave Rogers-For the Record

While fears have surfaced nationally that computer hackers could affect the outcome of the Nov. 8 Presidential and General Election, Orange County voters needn’t worry about their ballots.

That’s because the county still uses paper ballots that are counted by hand.

“It would cost about $600,000 to transfer to electronic from paper, and this county has not the funds for that,” said Tina Barrow, elections administrator for the county.

“The paper ballots do well.”

Early voting for the election runs from Monday, Oct. 24 through Friday, Nov. 4.

Orange County early voters may cast their ballots at any one of four locations: Orange Public Library, 220 W. 5th St., Orange; Bridge City Public Works Building, 220 Nitsche, Bridge City; Mauriceville Volunteer Fire Department, 10691 N. Texas 62, Mauriceville; or Raymond Gould Community Center, 385 Claiborne, Vidor.

Dates and hours for early voting in Orange County are: from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24; Wednesday, Oct. 26 through Saturday, Oct. 29; Monday, Oct. 31; Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Friday, Nov. 4. On Tuesdays Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Those electing to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, must cast their ballots at their precinct voting site. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.

There are 34 voting precincts in Orange County.

“I think it’ll be high,” Barrow said when asked to predict voter turnout for the election. “We should have a pretty good election.”

Orange County has 53,053 registered voters, with the Oct. 11 deadline to register for the upcoming election having passed. In the 2012 Presidential election, 30,836 people voted in Orange County, Barrow said.

Locally, 11 county offices will appear on the second page of the ballot topped by the U.S. Presidential race, with candidates Donald J. Trump (Republican Party), Hillary Clinton (Democratic), Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green).

Each of the Orange County offices on the ballot feature just one choice, all Republicans running unopposed after winning their party’s spring primary election.

They include: Judge, County Court-At-Law No. 2, Troy Johnson; County Attorney, John Kimbrough; County Clerk, Brandy Robertson; Sheriff, Keith Merritt; County Tax Assessor-Collector, Karen Fisher.

Two County Commissioner seats are on the ballot: Precinct 1, Johnny Trahan; Precinct 3, John Gothia. Voting includes all four Constables: Precinct 1, Chris Humble; Precinct 2, David A. Cagle; Precinct 3, Mark Philpott; Precinct 4, Jimmy Lane Mooney.

Orange Countians will vote for U.S. Representative District 36, Republican Brian Babin or Hal J. Ridley, Jr., of the Green Party; and State Representative District 21, Republican Dade Phelan, who is running unopposed.

Ten state-wide offices are on the ballot: Railroad Commissioner; Texas Supreme Court Justices Places 3, 5 and 9; Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judges, Places 2, 5, 6; Ninth Court of Criminal Appeals Justice, Place 2; District Judge 128th Judicial District; District Judge 163rd Judicial District.

Early voting set for Orangefield

The Orangefield Independent School District Administration Building, 10288 FM 105, Orangefield, is the place to vote early in the school district’s trustee election.

Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24 through Friday, Oct. 28, and again Monday, Oct. 31 through Friday, Nov. 4.

There are no contested races on the ballot and OISD Superintendent Stephen Patterson said it’s a waste of district funds, but state law won’t allow him to cancel it.

That’s because challenger David Chris Wagstaff dropped out of the only contested race, against Dr. Ronald Risinger, Place 6, after the state deadline to stop the election.

Now Risinger joins incumbents Van “Bo” Henley, Place 1; Jesse Fremont, Place 3; and Brad Frye, Place 7; in running unopposed on the ballot for re-election.

Because the OISD is not part of an incorporated city, it is required to hold its election in conjunction with the county every two years during the month of November. The term for a member on the OISD Board of Trustees is four years.