By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
The final day of early voting drew the highest number of voters, bringing the total to 2,844 for the week.
Now, Martha Tyroch and Ralph Sheffield and their campaign workers must await the decision of the voters in the April 8 runoff election.
Tyroch and Sheffield have been battling for the GOP nomination to capture the Texas House District 55 seat since emerging as the party's top two in the March 4 primary.
The battle will be over Tuesday, and the winner will take on Democratic nominee Sam Murphey in the November general election.
After more than 17,000 voters cast a ballot in the March 4 primary, election judge Jana Henderson said she expects to reach about one-third of that figure by the end of Tuesday. But the numbers have still been impressive for a runoff election.
"We did really well today, we had 840," she said Friday night. "I think it will be busy on Tuesday because the attention has been focused on April 8. We've actually prepared for all the new voters who voted on election day, which was 11,000. I don't think it will be quite that busy, though."
She said it's clear the District 55 race has fueled voter turnout, as Killeen, in District 54, had just 73 voters turn out all week. Compare that to Temple, where 1,477 people showed up. Harker Heights, also in District 55, had a showing of 347, only seven of whom cast a Democratic ballot.
"Killeen's early voting was really slow, but we expected that because they aren't in District 55," Henderson said. "Precinct 109 in Temple was one of the busiest districts."
She added that because the number of polling locations have been trimmed, officials have a state mandate to post the new location at all the places that are no longer being used. There are 19 polling locations for the runoff; the primary had 49.
"It's mandatory we post where to go to at every polling location," she said. "So if you go to your normal polling location and it's closed, it'll tell you on the door where to go."
Bell County Republican Party Chair Nancy Boston said she expects a good turnout Tuesday because so many people want to be heard in a heated race.
"Generally, there is a great fall from 25 to 50 percent, but this is an unusual election because there has been so much interest," Boston said Monday. "There is just one election on the ballot. I expect a fall-off. We provided a sufficient number I believe, and we can adjust our number if we need to. We were looking at a pretty good turnout. We have 15 locations for District 55. That further complicates it for the voters."
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