A tiny percentage of the electorate in Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Rusk and Upshur counties cast ballots by the Friday evening deadline for early voting, elections officials reported.
However, election officials in Gregg and Upshur counties said turnout over the two-week run for early voting was higher than in 2017, the most recent year in which statewide ballot measures appeared on the ballot.
The statewide ballot contains 10 proposed constitutional amendments this year — up from seven in 2017. And scattered local races in one city, two emergency services districts and three school districts in Gregg, Harrison, Rusk and Upshur counties likely attracted early voters.
Early voting closed at 5 p.m. Friday in Panola and Rusk counties and at 7 p.m. in Gregg, Harrison and Upshur counties. Voters who did not participate early may go to the polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday on Election Day.
Harrison County apparently drew the highest turnout — at 5% as of 4:30 p.m. — of the five counties. Elections Administrator Donald Robinette said 2,581 of the 44,393 registered voters had cast ballots, with 2 1/2 hours left for other voters to do so.
He said turnout was even higher, at 9%, within the Hallsville ISD boundaries, with 1,316 of the 14,283 voters participating. Hallsville ISD voters will decide on a $55 million bond proposal.
As of 4:40 p.m. Friday, three times as many voters in Gregg County voted early than in 2017, said Jennifer Briggs, assistant elections administrator. She said 1,568 people had voted, about 2.26% of the 69,287 registered voters in the county.
Gregg County voters in Emergency Services District No. 2 in the Liberty City area will decide whether to approve a 1.5% sales tax to support the Sabine Fire Department.
Within Upshur County as of 4:15 p.m., 951 residents voted early, 3% of the 27,532 registered voters, Elections Administrator Lore Harle said. That number compares with more than 500 people who voted early two years ago.
Harle said 75 of the 2,114 voters within Union Grove ISD boundaries cast ballots in the race between William Slim Matthew and Justin Smith for the vacant Place 2 trustee position.
Turnout was 3.7% as of 4:32 p.m. in Rusk County, with 1,154 of the 31,130 registered voters participating, an elections employee said. She did not have a breakdown in participation for the joint election that included Henderson ISD, the city of Henderson and Rusk County Emergency Services District No. 1.
Voters in the Henderson ISD election will decide on a trustee race between District 5 incumbent Jon Best and challenger Adam Duey, while in the city of Henderson, incumbent Tommy Goode is vying to keep his District 1 council post against challenger Chris Wheeler.
Voters in Rusk County Emergency Services District No. 1 will decide whether to adopt a sales tax not to exceed 2% in any location in the district.
Panola County elections officials were unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.
However, about 3.56% of the registered voters in the county — 580 out of a total of 16,300 — had participated as of the close of business Wednesday, the Texas Secretary of State’s office reported.