Texans living in nursing homes will have a new way to vote in this November’s election.
But then that method will go away.
Texas lawmakers earlier this year passed a bill that requires, when five or more absentee ballots are requested by residents at facilities such as nursing homes, election judges for both parties to deliver the ballots — and oversee the voting on them — during the early voting period.
“We post a notice of the day we are going to come,” said Stephen Vickers, Tarrant County’s elections administrator. “Then we have to send out a team of judges and ballots. They do the process there so they don’t have to mail it.”
The goal of this law, House Bill 658, was to make sure no one influences these Texans’ votes.
But election officials complained that this is a massive unfunded mandate.
“I think there are around 206 nursing homes in Tarrant County,” Vickers said. “If I had to print ballots and send a crew out to every one of those, with the time and the cost, .. that would kill my budget.”
Lawmakers understood the problem and, during the special session, they repealed the nursing home law.
But that change doesn’t go into effect until Dec. 1.
So the Nov. 7 election is the only one election judges will be required to personally be at nursing homes for early voting.
“I would like to remind all Texas voters to take advantage of early voting in order to ensure their voices are heard,” Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said.
Resigning a post
One of the Democratic candidates in the race for Senate District 10 has resigned the elected post she already held.
After 10 years of serving on the Burleson school board, Beverly Powell has resigned her post.
“My decision to resign was not taken lightly; however, I believe it’s crucial we send an advocate for Tarrant County public schools to Austin to represent our families,” she said in a statement. “I’m running for Texas State Senate because I believe our students, parents, and teachers need a strong voice in our state capitol.”
Powell and Allison Campolo have announced they are running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for this seat. Republican Konni Burton is seeking re-election.
The first day to file to be on the 2018 ballot is Nov. 11.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, has a new assignment — serving on the conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act.
“During this period of increased global threats, I will continue to be a voice to ensure that our men and women in uniform are fully supported with the resources they need to face the national security challenges here at home and abroad,” he said.