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Deadline nears to register for May elections

By Richard Yeakley
April 3, 2013 at 11 p.m.


East Texans wanting to make their voices heard in the May 11 elections have one week left to register to vote.

Anyone who has not applied to be a registered voter by April 11 will not be able to vote in the general election.

Gilmer, Kilgore, Lakeport, Overton and Hallsville residents will decide on contested mayoral and council races, while Longview residents will decide if beer and wine should be sold citywide and whether there should be more stringent requirements to run for city office.

City elections without a mayoral race traditionally have a lower turnout than those that do, and no challengers emerged for incumbent councilmen Richard Manley, District 5, or Sidney Allen, District 6, said city spokesman Shawn Hara.

Longview voters will decide whether to allow beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption in North and West Longview.

There also are two city charter options. One would require candidates for municipal office to gather 25 signatures or pay a $100 filing fee fee to run for office, while the other would require candidates to live a year in the district they seek to represent.

"The reasons these are put to a vote are they are decisions that should be important to voters as a whole," Hara said.

The push for beer and wine sales in dry areas of the city comes from Longview United for Growth. Leaders of the group have said that allowing such sales would equal the economic playing field and would encourage new grocery and convenience stores to move into those areas.

While an identical measure failed in 2007, no unified movement against the proposition has formed.

Kimberly Fish, spokeswoman for Longview United for Growth, said that because of limited man power, the organization would not work to register voters, but would work to "get out the vote" as election day nears.

"We are going to do two things to support voter turn out. First, we will follow traditionally established campaign ... plans," Fish said. "We also want to capitalize on social media. That's really the way a lot of young voters respond to issues, so we are encouraging members to make a concerted effort to utilize Twitter and Facebook to encourage voter response."

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