Early voting starts Monday

Posted Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Early voting Early voting for the Nov. 5 general election runs today through Nov. 1, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 28-Nov.1. Locations Tarrant County Elections Center, 2700 Premier St., Fort Worth. This is the main early voting site. Emergency and limited ballots are available here. Arlington Sub-Courthouse, 700 E. Abram St. Asia Times Square, 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Drive Benbrook Community Center, 228 San Angelo Ave. B.J. Clark Annex, Room 4, 603 Southeast Parkway, Azle Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., Arlington Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington, 4002 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington Colleyville City Hall, 100 Main St. CrossPoint Church of Christ, 3010 Bardin Road, Grand Prairie (no voting here on Sundays) Crowley Community Center, 900 E. Glendale St. Dan Echols Center, 6801 Glenview Drive, North Richland Hills Diamond Hill/Jarvis Branch Library, 1300 NE 35th St., Fort Worth Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school Administration Building 6, Training Room, 1200 Old Decatur Road, Saginaw Euless Public Library, 201 N. Ector Drive Elzie Odom Athletic Center, 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center, 6901 Wichita St. FWISD Professional Development Center, 3150 McCart Ave., Fort Worth Grapevine Community Activities Center, 1175 Municipal Way Griffin Sub-Courthouse, 3212 Miller Ave., Fort Worth Haltom City Northeast Center, 3201 Friendly Lane Handley/Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St., Fort Worth Hurst Recreation Center, 700 Mary Drive James Avenue Service Center, 5001 James Ave., Fort Worth JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts/Como, Lower Level, Suite 100, 4701 Bryant Irvin Road N., Fort Worth Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway Kennedale Community Center, 316 W. Third St. Mansfield Sub-Courthouse, 1100 E. Broad St. North Richland Hills Public Library, 9015 Grand Ave. Richland Hills Public Library, 6724 Rena Drive Sheriff's Department North Patrol Division, 6651 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main St. South Service Center, 1100 SW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington Southside Community Center, 959 E. Rosedale St., Fort Worth Southwest Regional Library, 4001 Library Lane, Fort Worth Southwest Sub-Courthouse, 6551 Granbury Road, Fort Worth Summerglen Branch Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd., Fort Worth Tarrant County Plaza Building, 201 Burnett St., Fort Worth Villages of Woodland Springs Amenity Center, 12209 Timberland Blvd., Fort Worth White Settlement Public Library, 8215 White Settlement Road Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave., Fort Worth Temporary voting site 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 22-24. University of Texas at Arlington Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Drive, Arlington Constitutional Amendments Here’s a list of the nine constitutional amendments on the Nov. 5 ballot. Proposition 1: Authorizing the legislature to give property tax exemptions to the spouses of veterans. Proposition 2: Eliminates state requirement to have the obsolete State Medical Education Board and State Medical Education Fund. Proposition 3: Extending the tax exemption period for storing aircraft parts in Texas. Proposition 4: Authorizing the legislature to give some property tax exemptions for residences donated to partially disabled veterans or their spouses. Proposition 5: Authorizing reverse mortgage loans. Proposition 6: Creating the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas, two funds officials say will help fund key projects in the state water plan. Proposition 7: Giving home-rule municipalities the ability to choose how to fill city council vacancies if those posts have less than 12 months in the term. Proposition 8: Repealing a constitutional provision that allowed a hospital district to be created in Hidalgo County. Proposition 9: Letting the State Commission on Judicial Conduct expand disciplinary actions against a judge or justice after a formal hearing. Source: Texas Secretary of State’s Office

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It’s time for Texans to head back to the polls, this time to weigh in on nine constitutional amendments and issues including alcohol sales and city and school bond packages.

But voters need to make sure they bring one extra thing this time: a photo ID.

Early voting today Monday for the Nov. 5 election, the first statewide election for which the state’s voter ID law will be in full effect.

“Early voting is a way for Texas voters to cast a ballot at a time and location that may be more convenient than waiting for Election Day,” Texas Secretary of State John Steen said. “I encourage all Texans to check now to make sure they have the required photo ID if they plan to vote in person.”

Two years ago, less than 4 percent of Tarrant County’s registered voters headed to the polls for the constitutional amendment election, about one-third voting early.

Four years ago, nearly 7 percent of local voters cast ballots, nearly 30 percent of them early, local election records show.

Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said that there aren’t any firm projections about turnout this year but that he believes such hot-button issues as bond packages may drive a turnout similar to that in 2009.

“We’re not expecting [turnout] to be heavy,” Raborn said. “But it may be higher than we expect as people discover how convenient it is.”

Tarrant County voters may go to any of the county’s 40-plus early-voting sites. Early voting runs through Nov. 1.

On the ballot

On Nov. 5, Texans will vote on nine proposed constitutional amendments that touch on such issues as creating a State Water Implementation Fund and authorizing reverse mortgages.

Proposition 6, on financing the state water plan, has drawn the most attention, as supporters and opponents have traveled the state trying to get out their message.

The measure would make $2 billion from the state rainy-day fund available for the Texas Water Development Board to use in financing projects in the water plan, with input from leaders in each region.

Supporters say this measure will help solve the state’s drought problem and prepare for population growth in coming decades.

“If Texas is to remain the best place to live, work, grow your business or raise your family, we must ensure adequate supplies for generations to come,” Gov. Rick Perry has said. “We stand at a historic crossroads, with a prime opportunity to meet our water needs for ourselves and generations of future Texans.”

Opponents say the proposal gives too much control to the board and would fund unneeded projects. They say more should be done to conserve existing water supplies. Some say Texas already has billions of dollars in bonding authority for water projects approved two years ago that have yet to be used.

“It's a boondoggle for people who want to make a lot of money on real estate speculation and to build the reservoirs,” Jere Locke, president of the executive board of the Texas Drought Project, has said. “It guarantees no money to conservation, which is our best bet.”

Other issues on the ballot vary by city.

Voters in Arlington will weigh in on whether the city should allow alcohol sales outside of restaurants and grocery and convenience stores. In White Settlement, they’ll vote in two City Council elections. In Bedford, they’ll vote on a $3.2 million park bond proposal.

And in Fort Worth, they’ll decide an estimated $490 million bond package to will pay for such projects as new classrooms, technology, security upgrades, two magnet schools and replacement of aging school buses.

The Fort Worth package comes in three propositions: One earmarks $386.6 million to expand the pre-kindergarten program and pay for new classrooms and high-tech tools; another uses about $73.3 million to create specialized campuses for grades six through 12 — a proposed performing and fine arts academy and a school to train tomorrow’s scientists. The third uses about $30 million to replace aging buses, student desks, band uniforms and instruments, and more.

Voting changes

Texas voters will have to show a photo ID — which include driver license, state-issued personal ID card, concealed handgun license, military card and citizenship certificate with photo or passport.

Raborn said he’s concerned that some voters will forget their ID or that some simply don’t have one. And he’s especially concerned that “some elderly voters may show up with an expired driver license and the license can’t be expired for more than 60 days.”

He and other election officials have been encouraging voters with no other photo ID to get a free election ID card.

Four mobile stations will be back in Tarrant County on Tuesday through Thursday for voters who don’t have a photo ID.

These stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tarrant County Southwest Sub-Courthouse, 6551 Granbury Road; the Charles F. Griffin Sub-Courthouse, 3212 Miller Ave.; the Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse in Arlington, 700 E. Abram St.; and the Tarrant County Northeast Sub-Courthouse, 201 Harwood Road, Suite 124, Bedford.

Texans also may go to a driver license office to get the ID; several local offices are open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Nov. 2 just to issue Election Identification Certificates.

Anyone voting by mail does not have to submit a photo ID. People with a documented disability may apply at their county voter registrar for a permanent exemption from the requirement, election officials say.

And any people showing up at the polls to vote who don’t have a photo ID is given a chance to go home and bring the ID back.

If they don’t, they may cast a provisional ballot. But to make sure that vote is counted, they’ll have to take a valid photo ID to the elections office within six days after the election. If they don’t, the ballot will not be counted, Raborn said.

“We are reminding voters to bring their photo ID with them so they aren’t surprised when they get there and don’t have to go get their ID and then come back,” Raborn said. “But we aren’t expecting this to be a big problem. A lot of voters already use their ID [rather than their voting registration card] to vote.”

Applications for mail-in ballots, sample ballots and a list of Election Day polling sites are online.

For information, call Tarrant County Elections officials at 817-831-8683.

Staff writer Diane Smith contributed to this report.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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