Early voting off to fast start in OC
Early voting in Orange County got off to a fast start this week and first-day figures suggest another record voter turnout in 2016.
With no contested county-wide races on the local ballots, it is clear the U.S. Presidential race between Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton is the big driver bringing people to the polls.
Orange County’s Election Administration reported 3,460 votes cast on Monday, including 898 received via mail.
That’s nearly a 7 percent increase over the number of first-day votes in the last presidential election. In 2012, there were 3,248 total ballots turned in on the first day of the two-week early voting period.
The Orange Public Library saw the most first-day voters, 900, while Vidor’s early-voting site had 714, Bridge City 606 and Mauriceville 307. There were also 35 military, out-of-county, or limited ballots cast.
Overall, 30,836 people voted in Orange County in the 2012 election, said Election Administrator Tina Barrow.
Orange County has 53,053 registered voters in 2016.
Early voting for the election runs 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. Wednesday, Oct. 26 through Saturday, Oct. 29; Monday, Oct. 31; Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Friday, Nov. 4. On Tuesday, 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.
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.
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. through Friday, Oct. 28, and again Monday, Oct. 31 through Friday, Nov. 4.