Special to the Tri County Leader
Early voting continues in a number of primary races throughout Smith and Cherokee County, while Election Day is quickly approaching.
The upcoming election will include contested races for U.S. and State Representatives, Judges, District Attorney, District Clerk, Commissioner and Justice of the Peace. Most of the contested races will be decided in the primary elections.
Election locations in Smith County include: R.B. Hubbard Center-Smith County Elections Office (304 East Ferguson St., Tyler); Heritage Building (1900 Bellwood Rd., Tyler); Whitehouse Municipal Court (311 E. Main St., Whitehouse); Noonday Community Center (16662 County Road 196, Tyler), and Lindale Public Library (200 E. Hubbard St., Lindale).
Hours for the week of Monday through Friday, Feb. 26 – March 2 are 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.
On Election Day Tuesday, March 6, polling locations in Smith County will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Included among the 34 polling locations throughout Smith County are Arp First Baptist Church, 304 West Front, Arp; Cameron –J. Jarvis Library, 102 South Georgia, Troup; and in Whitehouse, First Baptist Church, 801 East Main Street; Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 10519 F.M. 344 East and Whitehouse Municipal Court, 311 East Main Street.
Smith County residents will be able to vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at any of the 34 polling locations in Smith County instead of being restricted to their precinct on Election Day.
For Cherokee County residents, early voting locations for the March primaries include the Cherokee County Elections Department (138 W. 5th St., Rusk); Jacksonville Public Library (502 S. Jackson St., Jacksonville); and the Alto First Baptist Church (235 E. San Antonio St., Alto).
Polling places participating in early voting in Cherokee County will be open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Feb. 26 – March 2.
According to the Cherokee County Elections Office, the lone voting place open on Election Day locally is at Mount Selman Methodist Church, located at 135 County Road 3701, in Bullard.
The State Republican Executive Committee approved placing 11 propositions on the March Republican primary ballot, white the State Democratic Executive Committee has authorized a total of 12 ballot propositions, which have been dubbed “The Texas Bill of Rights.”
None of the propositions of either the Democrat or Republican primary ballots will become law as a result of this election. One’s vote gives notice to party leaders about the individual concerns on the issues presented.
As an open primary state, any registered voter in Texas is allowed to take part in either the Democrat or Republican primary, but not in both. One’s vote in the primary does not obligate an individual to vote for any specific party or candidate during the general election.
According to Texas law, voters must bring one of seven forms of approved photo identification to the polls, which can include a Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS, Texas personal identification card issued by DPS, Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS, United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph, United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph, or United States passport.
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the approved photo ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
Currently, Texas voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID have additional options when casting their ballots.
As provided by court order, if a voter does not possess and is not reasonably able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by (1) signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is reasonably unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and (2) providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.
Supporting documentation can be a certified birth certificate (must be an original), a valid voter registration certificate, a copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, although government documents which include a photo must be original and cannot be copies. If a voter meets these requirements and is otherwise eligible to vote, the voter will be able to cast a regular ballot in the election.
For more information about Smith County early voting or Election Day, visit www.smith-county.com/Government/Departments/Elections/CurrentElection.aspx or call the Smith County Elections Office at (903) 590-4777.
Also, for information about early voting and Election Day in Cherokee County, visit http://www.co.cherokee.tx.us/ips./cms/othercountyoffices/elections or call the Cherokee County Elections Office at (903) 683-8409.