By Sonya Campbell
Killeen Daily Herald
When the polls closed Friday bringing an end to early voting, the amount of voter turnout in Bell County had surpassed that of the gubernatorial election four years ago, according to County Clerk Shelley Coston.
The total was 23,756, she said.
In comparison, voter turnout in 2006 was 20,466 - 3,290 less than the number garnered four years ago.
"Today was the heaviest turnout of any day of early voting (this year)," Coston said.
She contends the special elections were a factor.
"I believe the special elections are generating the higher voter turnout," she said, noting people throughout the county are voting on issues in the local communities as well as on the county and state levels.
"All across the county there are additional issues on the ballot, which are generating more voters coming in," Coston said.
She noted there are special elections in Killeen, Harker Heights, Nolanville, Morgan's Point, as well as the Temple and Academy bond elections.
"I don't know whether there's any one particular issue (drawing voters). These issues are countywide, spread out from the west to the east side," Coston said.
Asked why Oct. 24 drew far less participation than the other days of early voting, she said people tend to spend more time with their families and doing other things on Sundays.
She also said mail-in ballots are not counted on Sunday.
Coston, urging people to turn out on Election Day, said "Go vote. Exercise your privilege to vote."
Early voting in Coryell and Lampasas counties was steady this year but less than remarkable when compared to 2006.
Overall, both counties reported numbers close to those garnered four years ago.
In Coryell County, 4,434 people voted early in 2006.
This year, 4,689 went to the polls prior to Election Day – 255 votes more than in early voting four years ago.
"We expected more, but it looks like we'll have right at the same," Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers said.
In Lampasas County, early voting totaled 2,263 in 2006.
As of Friday, the turnout was 2,213 with the polls not yet closed.
"We're not finding that tremendous of a change," said Elections Administrator Dorothy Person.
Efforts to get the final total were unsuccessful.
Contact Sonya Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557.