Voters flocking to polls early for primaries

Published 4:42 pm Friday, February 19, 2016


Early voting for the March primary has so far been brisk with more people casting their ballots early this election cycle than they did the same time period during the last two primaries.

“Lots of people are voting,” Theresa Goodness, chief deputy with the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, said Friday.

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Early voting started Tuesday and will continue through Feb. 26 ahead of the March 1 primary election.

The latest data from the Jefferson County Clerk’s office indicates 4,064 Democrats voted early through Thursday, Feb. 18. Of that number, 1,097 were mail-in ballots.

Republicans casting their ballots early for the same time period numbered 1,398, with 78 received by mail.

Contested local races and a spirited presidential election contributed to the increase in votes, as did a new state law concerning mail-in ballots, Goodness said.

Voters who are out of the county, age 65 or older, or are disabled can make application for a mail-in ballot. Beginning this year, those voters age 65 or older, and those disabled can make application for an annual mail-in ballot.

An annual mail-in ballot allows eligible voters to vote in all elections held that year that are administered by the county.

If early voting continues at the same pace, as the first week the numbers will likely eclipse those from the last two primary elections.

Total votes cast early in the 2012 Republican Primary numbered 7,043. In the 2012 Democratic Primary, 11,060 Jefferson County residents voted early.

In 2008, 3,110 people voted in the Republican Primary compared to 21,120 in the Democratic Primary.

For the same three-day time period 508 people voted early in the 2012 Republican Primary compared to 709 voting in the Democratic Primary.

In 2008, 182 people voted early during the first three days in the 2008 Republican Primary compared to 1,078 in the Democratic Primary during 2008.

Early voting for the March 1 Primaries continues through Feb. 26 with some locations open this weekend including the Port Arthur Public Library and the Marion and Ed Hughes Public Library.

Voters can cast their votes early from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.

Feb. 22 -26, Monday through Friday, early voting hours are 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at all voting locations including:

Beaumont Courthouse – Main location, 1085 Pearl St., Beaumont

Port Arthur Sub-Courthouse, 525 Lakeshore Drive, Port Arthur

Port Arthur Public Library, 4615 Ninth Ave., Port Arthur

Marion and Ed Hughes Public Library, 2712 Nederland Avenue, Nederland

Groves Recreation Center, 6150 39th St., Groves

Effie and Wilton Hebert Library, 2025 Merriman St., Port Neches


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