Primary election could mean tight squeeze for local races

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Feb. 21, 2012 at 6 p.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.

With emphasis on "tentative," polls are expected to open May 29 for the primaries, said Elections Administrator George Matthews during Tuesday's commissioners court meeting.

Judge Don Pozzi asked Matthews to give an update during citizens' communication. The meeting had been postponed because of the Monday holiday.

The May date was set by the Federal Court in San Antonio, and should be finalized by the end of the week, Matthews said. District maps could be released as early as next week, he said.

While an official date is welcomed news for those, like Matthews, who have floated in limbo while the courts ruled on Texas' redistricting maps, it could mean a tight schedule for local elections.

If May 29 is the date, the city, school, water and college election will be Saturday, May 12, then two days later, Monday, May 14, early voting will begin for the primaries, Matthews said.

Pozzi asked about any extra expenses incurred because of the delay.

While statewide, $1.5 million has been spent on the case, Matthews said the local elections office is beginning to see some unexpected costs.

While his office will not lose any of the preparation work they did while thinking the election would be in March then April, Matthews said some will have to be re-done, and that's where the cost comes from.

Commissioner Kevin Janak asked how, with the elections timed so closely, how mail-in ballots would be kept separate.

Matthews said they will be able to identify which envelopes are for the primary and which are for the local election.



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