Shelby County early voting total tops pace of 2016 - last presidential election year
With still two days to go in early voting for the March 3 primary elections, voters in Shelby County have already surpassed the in-person early voting total from the last presidential election year in 2016, according to Jennifer Fountain, Shelby County Clerk.
“We had 161 voters today, which puts us at 1743 total,” she said of Wednesday's early voting activity. “We have officially passed the early voting numbers from the 2016 primaries.”
In 2016 the county had 1,676 votes cast in person during the early voting period, Fountain said.
She continues to encourage county voters to take advantage of early voting opportunities. The early voting location at the Center Community House is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 27 and 28.
Foutain reported 164 people had cast ballots in person during early voting on Tuesday.
“We expect as many as 500 or more votes on Friday,” she said. The Republican Primary ballot has a large of number of contested races topped by five candidates seeking the sheriff's job and a contested race for district attorney; along with contested county commissioner seats for precincts 1 and 3; five people seeking the Pct. 3 JP seat; and contested races for several constable positions.
According to the Texas Secretary of State's office, Shelby County has 15,285 voters registered for the March 3 primaries. As of Tuesday's total of 1,582 votes cast in person, that means about 10 percent of registered voters in the county have already made their decisions final by casting ballots already. That total does not include mail-in ballots.
This year's Shelby County registration number is nearly 4 percent above the total of registered voters in the last presidential election year primary of 2016. The county had 14,713 people registered to vote in March 2016, according to Texas Secretary of State figures.
Early voting hours continue Monday through Friday, Feb. 24-28, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Center Community House, 423 San Augustine Street.
Due to the construction on the Center square, early voting for the upcoming Primary Election has been moved to the Center Community House, 423 San Augustine St. in Center, Fountain said. She said many voters have expressed their appreciation for the effort to move the early voting location from the County Clerk's Office to the Community House.
“They're saying it's a lot easier to get in and out here,” she said. Fountain said a number of voters indicated they would like to see the early voting take place at the Community House in the future regardless of the downtown streetscape construction going on currently.
Among local candidates seeking office on the March 3 primary election ballot are:
• District Attorney — Stephen Shires (I) and Karren Price
• County Attorney — Gary Rholes (I)
• County Tax Assessor-Collector — Debora Riley (i)
• Sheriff — Newton Johnson Jr.; Tanner Peace; Derek Barbee; Joey Hudnall and Kevin W. Windham.
• Pct. 1 County Commissioner — Roscoe McSwain (I) and Donnie Borders
• Pct. 3 County Commissioner — David Cheatwood, Stevie Smith and Willis Blackwell
• Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace — Sean Permenter, Darrell Alford, Billy D. Barnett, Don Jones and Melba Rodgers
• Pct. 1 Constable — Zach Warr (i) and Ricky King
• Pct. 2 Constable — Jamie Hagler (I) and Randy Dean
• Pct. 3 Constable — Roy Cheatwood (i)
• Pct. 4 Constable — Jake Metcalf (i) and Bryan Gray
• Pct. 5 Constable — Josh Tipton and Robert Hairgrove (i)
• County Democrat Party Chair — Patsy Handy (i)
• County Republican Party Chair — Leigh Porterfield (i)
Also filing for re-election has been incumbent District 9 State Rep. Chris Paddie, (R-Marshall), who is being challenged in the March primary by Mark Williams of Carthage.
On primary election day, March 3, polling places across Shelby County will be open from 7 a.m.— 7 p.m.