First day of early voting sets record

Monday was the first day of early voting for the November 8 election.

Monday — the first day of early voting for the November 8 General Election — was a record-setter for Cooke County.

“We actually had a record turnout,” Chief Deputy Clerk Pam Harrison said Tuesday. “We had 955 the first day and that was just in-person voters.”

Voters have a slate of federal, state and local races to contemplate including the Presidential race.

Harrison said she expects voter turnout for this election to be “really, really high.”

Cooke County had a 61 percent voter turnout rate in 2012.

Harrison said she believes a majority of the county’s 25,084 register voters will cast ballots.

“This year we expect [turnout] to be at least 70 percent if not 80 percent,” she said.

Harrison also noted changes in voter identification laws will make it easier for some to vote.

According to VoteTexas.gov,  for all elections held in Texas after August 10, 2016 until further notice, “voters who possess an acceptable form of photo identification for voting listed  are still required to present it in order to vote in person in all Texas elections. The acceptable form of photo identification may be expired up to four years. Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo identification and cannot obtain one of the forms of acceptable photo identification listed below due to a reasonable impediment, may present a supporting form of identification and execute a Reasonable Impediment Declaration, noting the voter’s reasonable impediment to obtaining an acceptable form of photo identification, and stating that the voter is the same person on the presented supporting form of identification.”

Acceptable forms of photo ID include

• 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

• United States passport

Harrison said one Cooke County voter utilized the reasonable impediment declaration.

Six others have voted a limited ballot which includes federal and statewide but not local races, she said.

Her office has mailed 615 ballots for far many of which are for college students who permanent address is in Cooke County.

“I would say 10 percent are college students,” she said. “[County workers] have mailed at least 100 or more. Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos announced there were more than 15 million registered voters across the state. 

In the 2012 presidential election, Texas had 13,646,226 registered voters, according to a recent news release from the secretary of state’s office. 

Early voting is under from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the County Annex Building, 112 South Dixon Street in Gainesville. 

The last day of early voting is Friday, November 4.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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