• December 22, 2014

Early voting falls short of 2008 pace

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Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 10:35 am, Mon Feb 17, 2014.

After early voting in Texas ended Friday, the final numbers in Bell County totaled 52,536 ballots cast, more than 10,000 fewer than the record early voter turnout during the 2008 presidential election.

In 2008, 63,748 voters cast ballots in Bell County during the early-voting period.

Voting was steady in Coryell County, with 9,207 ballots cast during early voting, county Tax Assessor Justin Carothers said Friday.

During the 2008 election, 10,429 people cast ballots during early voting in Coryell County.

Election participation is always high during presidential elections, Bell County Clerk and chief election official Shelley Coston said, and the trend tends to be toward voting early.

In the 2008 presidential election, 65 percent of voters voted early, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade said, and this year that percentage is also expected to be high.

Although Bell County voters were allowed to vote at any of the six early voting locations in the county this year, the Temple polling station brought in the most votes of any single early voting location with a total of 12,780 ballots cast.

Killeen, a city with almost twice the population of Temple, had a total turnout of 16,862 voters between the city’s two local polling voting locations — 5,745 at the Killeen Bell County Annex and 11,117 at the Killeen Community Center.

One reason for the high turnout in Temple was the two Bell County Commission races on the ballot for Precinct 1 and Precinct 3 commissioner, Coston said.

Both precincts encompass the eastern sections of Bell County, and in many cases, Temple was the most convenient early-voting location for those residents, Coston said.

Election officials will now begin preparing for Election Day on Tuesday, when voting will be held by precinct from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all counties in Texas.

Coston said her staff will be working through the weekend, tallying the votes from early voting and setting up ballots for the 49 individual precincts at 47 polling locations. (Look for a list of Tuesday’s polling locations in Sunday’s Daily Herald).

“We will have no idea what the early voting produces until 7 p.m. Tuesday,” Coston said. “We hope to be able to announce the votes at 7:01 p.m. that night.”

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