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By Chris Edwards
The early voting period began on Monday, Oct. 18 and will last until Friday, Oct. 29. Voters across the state will decide several key propositions, either by showing up early during the window, or on Nov,. 2.
Locally, voters who are serviced by the Colmesneil Independent School District as well as Woodville ISD have the opportunity to choose from candidates on the ballot.
CISD voters are faced with at-large trustee positions on the board, with Eric L. Lee, Becky Graham and Seth Fasske running against incumbents Twyla Darder, Luke Wilkinson and Kris Lindsey.
WISD has three seats on the ballot. Richard “Kooter” Shaw, Jr., is running unopposed, while places 4 and 5 have drawn opponents. Incumbent trustee Bryan Shirley is facing Shaun Dunn for Place 4 and Place 5 is between challengers Kris Fowler; Joshua A. Johanson and Kevin McQueen.
Colmesneil also has some city leadership positions on the ballot, as Mayor Duane Crews is challenged by Russell “Rusty” Warner. Councilmembers Dennis Moffett and Gene Allen are running unopposed in their seats.
The Ivanhoe City Council has David Herrington; Skip Blackstone and Tommy Morris up for re-election and Laura Cleland Fregia on the ballot as a challenger.
Below are a list of the eight, statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot. In order to make changes to the state’s constitution, amendments must be voted in by a two-thirds majority in the state’s House and Senate, and then be approved by voters.
The amendments range from those that deal with COVID-19 related matters to tax exemptions for surviving spouses of military personnel killed in the line of duty.
Polling times begin at 8 a.m. and run through 4:30 p.m. from Oct. 18 through 22. On Oct. 23, the polls open at 2 p.m. and close at 6 p.m. They run 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on the 25 and 26 and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 through 29.
Important Dates to Know
• Oct. 18 – First day of early voting
• Oct. 22 – Last day to apply for mail-in ballot
• Oct. 29 – Last day of early voting
• Nov. 2 – Election Day
What you need to vote
To cast a ballot, you need to bring one of these forms of identification:
• Texas Driver’s License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
• Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC) issued by DPS
• Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
• Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) issued by DPS
• U.S. Military ID Card containing the person’s photograph
• U.S. Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
• U.S. Passport
Except for the U.S. citizenship certificate, the form of identification you use must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented at the polls.
If you don’t have any of these to use for identification, you can (1) sign a sworn statement explaining why you don’t have those IDs and (2) bring one of the following:
• Valid voter registration certificate
• Certified birth certificate
• Current utility bill
• Government check
• Pay stub or bank statement that includes your name and address
• Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph).
According to the Texas Secretary of State website, you can request a mail-in ballot if you meet one of the criteria:
• Be 65 years old or older
• Be sick or disabled
• Be out of the country on Election Day or during early voting
• Be confined in jail but still eligible to vote
You can request an application for a mail-in ballot online here or print out the form. Once you fill out the form, you must mail it to County Clerk Donece Gregory at 116 S. Charlton, Woodville, TX 75979.
Constitutional Amendments on the ballot
Proposition 1 — If approved, professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations will be allowed to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.
Proposition 2 — This would authorize counties to issue bonds to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in underdeveloped areas.
Proposition 3 — This would prohibit government entities and institutions from enacting rules that would prohibit or limit religious services of religious organizations. This was passed by state policymakers as a response to some communities shutting churches down to avoid crowds gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proposition 4 — This is a judiciary-related measure that would update the eligibility requirement for Texas Supreme Court justices, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals and a district judge. Candidates for those judicial seats would need to be Texas residents and U.S. citizens. Candidates for state supreme court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or an appeals court would need 10 years of experiences as a practicing lawyer or judge of a state or county court and candidates for district court would need eight years of experience. Candidates whose license to practice law was revoked or suspended would be disqualified from office. These rules would apply to appointed or elected officials who assume their role after Jan. 1, 2025.
Proposition 5 — This is a judiciary-related measure that would authorize the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate complaints against candidates running for state judicial office, just as it can do for current judicial officeholders.
Proposition 6 — This would establish a right for people living in nursing homes or residents of assisted living facilities to designate an essential caregiver who cannot be barred from visiting in person.
Right to caregiver visits in Texas nursing homes on ballot for November election
Proposition 7 — This would allow the state to extend a homestead limitation on school district ad valorem taxes for surviving spouses of disabled individuals if the spouse is 55.
Proposition 8 — This would allow homestead tax exemption for surviving spouses of military members killed or fatally injured in the line of duty will also appear on the ballot. The constitution currently allows the exemption for spouses of members of the armed forces who are killed in action, but the expanded language would incorporate military members who die in military training or other military duties.