QUESTION: I’m 89, and for the first time, I requested and received a mail-in ballot, which I have not opened. I don’t want to risk voting in person, but I don’t know what to do with the ballot I received.

ANSWER: So, if your concern is about whether your mail ballot would be delayed by returning it in the mail, you can cast your mail-in-ballot in person through Election Day at the county elections office at the Gregg County Courthouse. Bring your ID, and you’ll be required to sign a voter roster.

However, if you’ve decided you want to surrender your mail ballot and follow typical voting procedures, the best thing to do is take it to any polling locating and fill out the appropriate paperwork to surrender the ballot. You will then vote in person at the polling location.

For information, call the elections office at (903) 236-8458.

Q: Why won’t AT&T activate the fiber optic cable on the east side of U.S. 259 N. to George Richey Road? It’s been in the ground three years. They are serving the University of Texas at Tyler University Center on the west side. We need high-speed internet for business and security.

A: I guess you could count this as an Answer Line fail, but really I feel like it’s a failure on the part of AT&T to provide any real information about this specific situation. Here’s what company spokesman Charles Bassett sent me in response to this inquiry: “We offer internet service to homes and businesses in Longview.”

Also, he said some businesses have dedicated fiber lines connected to the AT&T central’s office.

But that tells you nothing about the status of that particular line, and I apologize for that.

Q: My question is how many people died in 2018 and 2019 in the United States?

A: I found an online report through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that reported a total of 2,839,205 deaths of residents in the United States in 2018, which was 25,702 more deaths than in 2017.

Another CDC report totaled the 2019 number of deaths a bit higher at 2,855,000.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.