The Smith County Commissioners Court, shown meeting in February, includes (from left) Commissioner Jeff Warr, Commissioner Terry Phillips, Judge Nathaniel Moran, Commissioner Cary Nix and Commissioner JoAnn Hampton. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph/File)

Smith County officials will discuss a list of poll workers from the Smith County Republican Party that has not yet been approved for the Nov. 5 election.

The Smith County Commissioners Court will hold an executive session on the issue at its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Smith County Courthouse Annex, 200 E. Ferguson St.

Following the executive session, the Commissioners Court will consider passing a new order, essentially a county law, increasing the eligibility requirements for people to serve as election judges above the minimum that Texas law requires.

The draft order would require election judges to have “prior experience working as an election judge, election clerk, poll worker, or in some other capacity volunteering or working on election day at an election site where they gained an understanding of the duties, roles, and responsibilities of an election judge.”

The order would allow the Smith County elections administrator to waive the additional requirement in the case that there are not people who meet the extra requirement who are willing to serve as election judge.

Additionally, the Commissioners Court also may approve a list of election judges that Republican Chairman Brent Thompson has submitted for 2019 and 2020. The Commissioners Court did not act on the list at a previous meeting Aug. 27.

That day, Sharon Guthrie, a Republican precinct chair and longtime election judge, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph she was not happy that she and other experienced election judges had been left off the list and replaced with people she said had no experience. Guthrie called the situation retaliation against those who sought to have Thompson removed from his post.

During a typical year, chairmen of the county Democratic and Republican parties submit lists of election judges to the county elections administrator. Each list contains one name for each polling place, and the party judges co-manage the locations.

The county’s Democratic and Republican parties both asked last week that the county government provide additional training for election judges in advance of the 2020 primary and general election.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for VTDigger.org and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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