ANDREW D. BROSIG, andrewbrosig@tylerpaper.com

Smith County Elections officials made it a bit easier to participate in the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election on Tuesday, hosting a voter registration drive in downtown Tyler.

Karen Nelson, county elections administrator, and Maurine Smith, an early voting clerk and part time staff member at the elections office, set up a table and welcomed all comers to register or update their voter information. Deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Timothy Freeman, a disabled veteran and parent of college students, was first in line Tuesday to sign his name on the dotted line. He considered it important that he express his opinion, that his voice be heard.

Likewise for Marilyn Hendrix and Josh Flowers. All three were updating their voter information, making sure they would be able to go to the polls Nov. 8. Voting is more than a right, they said. It’s a duty.

“This election, people say it’s different,” Mr. Flowers said. “The two main party candidates are not the most liked. The country is divided. I wanted to make sure everything is in order, so I can get in and vote.”

Mr. Freeman agreed. The current political climate is something he’s never seen before.

“This is something new, kind of disturbing,” he said. “It’s even more important to vote this year because of the things going on now.”

Elections administrator Ms. Nelson said there are more than 134,000 registered voters in Smith County this year. Even with that number, there are still almost 20,000 voter registrations with some problem, a bad address for example.

"Every time, it's important to vote," Ms. Nelson said. "You're not only voting for national candidates, people are also electing people for your area, for state offices and, for some, for county and local officials."

Ms. Hendrix of Bullard said the importance of voting was impressed on her by her parents.

“This year is a little different,” she said. “It’s always important, but it’s very important this year. I want to be a good citizen and vote.”

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