By Sonya Campbell
Killeen Daily Herald
Republicans in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties assured their voices were heard during the 2010 General Election, showing up in force at the polls.
In Bell County, among those voting the straight party ticket, Republicans comprised 65.79 percent (17,268 votes), Democrats had 33.39 percent (8,738 votes), Libertarians garnered 0.74 percent (197 votes) and the Green Party had 0.17 percent (44 votes).
Voter turnout, in general, was good this year, according to Bell County Clerk Shelley Coston.
When early voting culminated on Oct. 29, 23,756 people had voted, surpassing the number of the gubernatorial election four years ago, she said.
In comparison, the turnout for early voting in 2006 was 20,466 – 3,290 less than the number garnered four years ago.
She said the special elections played a role in the upsurge this year.
"I believe the special elections are generating the higher voter turnout," she said, prior to Tuesday's election.
While a majority of the propositions passed, one failed - the Academy
ISD bond issue, which called for $13.425 million in additions and renovations at the elementary and high school and improvements to other facilities in the district.
The measure faltered by 38 votes.
Coston acknowledged there were some concerns during the voting process. She received calls from voters about concerns while early voting was under way.
Complaints ranged from road construction near one precinct, which narrowed access to the polling site, to voters being handed ballots without the appropriate propositions being listed.
Coston noted the confusion stemmed from a change in state law.
She said the Texas Legislature changed the law in 2008 and allowed cities and schools to conduct their elections in conjunction with the general election.
As a result, there were numerous special elections that could be voted on by people in certain areas.
But in some instances, people who wanted to vote on specific propositions, such as liquor sales, were ineligible to vote on the measures or, if eligible, were given ballots that didn't list them.
The voters then had to request the appropriate ballot.
Attempts to contact election officials Wednesday for comment were unsuccessful.
In Coryell County, the election process unfolded without any major complications arising.
"Everything went smoothly," said Tax Assessor/Collector Justin K. Carothers.
Overall, nearly 10,000 voters cast ballots - more in early voting than on Election Day.
Carothers said 4,950 people took advantage of early voting while another 4,784 waited until Tuesday to cast ballots.
In 2006, 4,434 people voted early.
Among those voting the straight party ticket, Republicans turned out in the greatest numbers, comprising 73 percent of the voters.
Democrats accounted for 25 percent, Carothers said, with smaller parties accounting for the other 2 percent of voters.
In Lampasas County, 41.29 percent or 5,237 voters participated in this year's election.
Republicans accounted for the majority.
Overall, those voting along party lines included Republicans, 79.93 percent; Democrats, 18.18 percent; Libertarians, 1.46 percent; and the Green Party, 0.43 percent.
The total number of early voters was 1,213 this year, compared to 2,263 in 2006.
Another 1,320 turned out to cast ballots Tuesday.
The only proposition on the ballot, a local-option alcohol issue for the city of Kempner, passed with 154 votes for and 44 against the measure.
In general, Elections Administrator Dorothy Person reported no problems in the voting process.
"It went pretty well," she said.
Contact Sonya Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557.