Early voting ends Tuesday; busy so far

Published 4:19 pm Friday, April 29, 2016


Since the early voting period for Port Arthur’s May 7 school board and municipal elections started Monday, voting has been brisk.

By mid-afternoon Friday, 1,010 people had cast their ballots early to elect a new city mayor, two school board members, an $89 million Port of Port Arthur bond and two propositions: One to fund streets improvements and the other to help bring homeowners to the city’s downtown.

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“We have really been steady and really busy,” Port Arthur election administrator Sherri Bellard, said. “Polling places are busy, which makes us feel really great for all the work that goes into an election.”

Starting April 2, when Keith Richard was elected Port Arthur Position City Councilman, the city began using new voting technology — the same utilized by Jefferson County.

“I am just so excited, I can look up all kinds of information,” Bellard said.

The new technology, E-Poll books, utilizes a tablet to track voter trends and take the place of combination forms, just name a few of the features.

Since the current early voting period started five days ago, the new technology has indicated the average age of voters casting their ballots each day.

The average age of people voting on Monday was 59, on Tuesday, 57; and on Wednesday, 55.

Peak times of voting are between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. the system indicated.

The new technology also revealed more than twice the amount of voters marked their ballots at the city’s public library than at City Hall.

Bellard said the number of people voting early in this year’s Port Arthur mayoral election is about the same as the 1,167 voting the first four days in 2013.

“It will be interesting to see if we surpass 2013; I think it is possible,” Bellard said.

Early voting continues on Monday and Tuesday, with extended hours the last day.

Early voting locations are: City Hall, 444 Fourth St. and Port Arthur Public Library, 4615 Ninth Ave.

Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday at City Hall and the Port Arthur Public Library. On Tuesday hours are the same at the library, from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but extended for an additional three hours, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., at City Hall.

E-mail: sherry.koonce@panews.com

Twitter: sgsturdivant