Monday Deadline Set For Voter Registration
By ADAM RUSSELL
People hoping to cast ballots in statewide and local July 31 runoff races, including for U.S. Senate and Smith County sheriff, can register to vote at county election departments until Monday.
Voters who cast primary ballots for Republican candidates must vote for Republican runoff candidates. The same goes for voters who cast ballots for Democrats in their party's primary.
Voters who did not cast ballots during the primary are free to choose either party's runoff ballot, but only can vote in a single party's runoff.
Smith County voters will have four Republican races to consider on July 31, including U.S. Senate between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz; Smith County sheriff, between Chris Green and Larry Smith; Precinct 3 county commissioner, between incumbent Terry Phillips and Ronnie Pilcher and Precinct 3 constable, between Jim Blackmon and Scott McAuley. There is a Democratic runoff for U.S. Senate between Grady Yarbrough and Paul Sadler for Smith County voters to consider.
Assistant election director Joanna Stanfield said voter registration for the runoff has been brisk.
"We don't have a count, but you wouldn't believe how many are registering," she said. "There are stacks of applications."
Ms. Stanfield said most residents registering at the election office are talking about the sheriff's race. She said the elections department has received mail-in applications from the state, and residents are coming in daily to register.
There are around 119,000 registered voters in Smith County. More than 27,000 GOP voters cast ballots during the primary. Expectations were for an abysmal turnout for the runoff statewide.
"July 31 isn't a day that people get excited about. There are vacations, the heat and people just aren't thinking about an election," Smith County Republican chairman Ashton Oravetz aid.
Around 2 million of the state's 13 million registered voters showed up to primary polls on May 29 or around 15 percent. Oravetz said the state is expecting 20 percent of the 2 million primary voters to cast ballots. He is hoping around 50 percent of almost 28,000 Smith County Republicans cast ballots July 31.
"The voters who care are the ones who will show up," he said.
Texas Secretary of State spokesman Rich Parsons said the registration period is almost closed but that there is plenty of time to participate.
"There may be people who, for whatever reason, were unable to register and vote in the primary," he said. "As long as they register by Monday they can cast ballots."
For more information on how to register, go to the Smith County Elections Department website at www.smith-county.com
or to the Secretary of State's website at www.votetexas.gov
. You can also call the county election department at 903-590-4777 or visit in person at 200 E. Ferguson St. Suite 500 in Tyler.