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EDITORIAL — If you don’t vote, that’s your fault

By late afternoon Tuesday, early voter turnout for Port Arthur’s mayoral race was far ahead of the pace set in the first early voting go-around in April for the May 4 general election. That’s good news.

City Secretary Sherri Bellard said vote totals late Tuesday were at 765 and counting, almost 200 votes ahead of the second-day total of 569 for April 23, which was the second day of voting then. There was still time for more votes to come in that day.

That voter enthusiasm is good for this city, where voter turnout is generally dismal. Bellard said the voter turnout for the May 4 election was 13 percent, which was the highest total in a decade. As far as “highs” go, that was pretty low.

The increased voter traffic may come as a surprise. There have been social media claims about over enthusiastic campaign workers at the two early polling places — City Hall and the Port Arthur Public Library — and such shenanigans were scaring voters off, some claimed. But if that were true, why are voter numbers up? We’ve visited the early voting sites several times, and found both camps cordial and orderly. If you want to vote, go vote.

There were a dozen complaints made to the city secretary’s office about campaign activity at the polls during the general election; none of them amounted to much except bruised feelings and hyperactive imaginations.

This, too, might be cause for surprise: The runoff between incumbent Mayor Derrick Freeman and former Justice of the Peace Thurman Bill Bartie, who finished second on May 4, involves just two candidates, not the five who signed up for the May 4 ballot. And yet, more voters are making it to the polls.

Well, come on.

Early voting hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday and Tuesday at City Hall, 444 Fourth St. Tuesday is the last day for early voting at the polls.

The runoff election itself is scheduled for 7 a.m.–7 p.m. on June 22, a Saturday. No one can say they haven’t had a chance to cast their ballots; voting opportunities here are abundant.

Here’s where you can vote on June 22:

Polling places are:

  • L. Eldridge Community Center, 5262 S. Gulfway Drive, Sabine Pass
  • Memorial 9th Grade Academy, 2441 61st
  • Tyrrell Elementary, 4401 Ferndale
  • Port Arthur Public Library, 4615 Ninth Ave.
  • Port Arthur City Hall, Fourth St.
  • Abraham Lincoln Middle School, 1023 Abe Lincoln
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School, 2200 Jefferson Drive.

We encourage responsible citizens to go to the polls, no matter which of the two final candidates they support. Both candidates have public records to be studied; they’ve made themselves available to voters.

Vote for whomever you wish, but vote. If you don’t, that’s on you.

 

See also: 3219 vote early in Nederland