Early jail vote disappointing
POSTED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 5:47pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 10:25am
For 5 years now, KETK has been covering what seem like annual Jail Bond elections.
They are always polarizing and controversial.
So why aren’t voters turning out for this one?
It’s like real estate…location, location, location.
KETK spoke with elections folks today and found the reason for the miserable turnout is simple.
Voters have to make an effort this time.
Expanding the Smith County Jail is the $35-million question that voters will have to answer, and so far, not many of them have voted.
“Many voters don’t even realize we have an election in May,” says Elections Administrator Karen Nelson.
That’s because unlike other bond votes, they could only vote early at the Courthouse Annex in Tyler.
“I have met with a lot of people who are just worn out talking about jail bond issues,” says County Commissioner Jeff Warr.
Unlike the original jail bond in May of 2006, where 4200 voted early, only 899 made the trek into Tyler this time.
So, does that favor those who are for or against the jail?
“There are certainly folks that I know who were going to vote for the jail bond proposal, who haven’t voted yet because they didn’t drive downtown,” Warr told us. “You know, perhaps they’re just being optimistic or kind to me because they know I’ve been out talking to the community now for over a year.”
So, it comes down to Saturday. The polling bags are ready to go out to locations all over the county.
“We have 46 locations all over the county to vote on the jail bond and each individual school is still having their own election,” Nelson explained.
And if you are used to voting at the church or Masonic Hall near you, the jail will be on the ballot there on the 14th.
“So I think even some of the smaller ISD schools have relatively low turnout. So I would anticipate most of them just doing it all at one time on Saturday.”
And of course, KETK will bring you election results from all over the county Saturday night .
For information on election locations and precincts, click here for the Smith County Elections office.