This coming Monday, June 29, marks the start of early voting for the Democratic and Republican party joint primary runoff election.
Early voting is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays through July 10 at the Cooke County Courthouse Annex, 112 S. Dixon St. Early voting will not be available July 3 because of the county’s observance of the Fourth of July.
Voters who participated in the March primaries can only cast a ballot for the party they voted in then. Those who didn’t vote in the primaries can vote in either party’s runoff.
Two races are on the Republican Party ballot. The Republican runoff ballot features Ronny Jackson and Josh Winegarner facing off for the District 13 U.S. representative seat and Elizabeth Beach and Brian Walker vying for Second Court of Appeals District place 7 justice.
The Democratic Party ballot has three races to vote in. The Democratic runoff ballot features Royce West and Mary “MJ” Hegar running for U.S. senator; Greg Sagan and Gus Trujillo for District 13 U.S. representative; and Chrysta Castaneda and Robert R. “Beto” Alonzo for railroad commissioner.
Early voting is longer than usual. Gov. Greg Abbott extended the early voting period to allow for disinfecting and social distancing measures because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cooke County Clerk Pam Harrison said she encourages voters to wear masks when coming to vote. However, masks are not required.
All who enter the annex do have their temperature taken. This measure was implemented by the Cooke County Commissioners’ Court at county-operated facilities to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Harrison said voters are not required to have their temperature taken and can refuse.
She said she does encourage anyone who is showing symptoms of the coronavirus to call the Cooke County Clerk’s Office at 940-668-5437 to vote curbside.
Election staff will be working diligently to keep everything sanitized. Harrison also said hand sanitizer will be available for voters and she requests they use it before and after voting.
Harrison also asks that those showing symptoms wear a mask. Her office can provide masks if needed, she said.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of noon Thursday, June 25, there were 9 active coronavirus cases in Cooke County, according to county officials.
Cathy Lloyd, administrative assistant with the Cooke County Judge’s Office, said Friday, June 26, that she didn’t have information on if any of the county’s active cases required hospitalization.
As of press time Friday, there were 2,453,045 reported cases of the coronavirus nationwide and 124,749 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 135,151 reported cases and 2,317 deaths.
COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 26,263 registered voters in Cooke County, according to Brandy Carr, the county’s voter registrar.
Election Day is July 14.