The Bell County Voter Registrar’s Office is adding as many as 1,000 new voters to rolls each week as November’s general election nears.
Bell County Tax-Assessor Collector Sharon Long, who oversees voter registration for the county, said that twice a week she receives a thick envelope from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
Inside is anywhere between 300 and 500 new voters to add. The office also has received numerous registration forms directly from county residents who either mail the applications or deliver them in person.
As of Friday, the county sported more than 159,000 registered voters, or a little more than 51 percent of the population. But about 34,700 of those are listed as suspended voters — people eligible to vote who did not respond to mailed registration queries.
The deadline to register for the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 9, a week from Tuesday. Mailed forms must be postmarked by that date to be eligible.
Registration forms are available online at www.votetexas.gov and at various places throughout the county. Forms are usually at each city’s main municipal building, public libraries, post offices, all public county facilities and at the headquarters for county parties.
On the ballot
For the past 10 years, election results in Bell County have been dominated by Republicans. The ballot for Bell County races paints the same picture.
Eleven Republicans, mostly incumbents, are running unopposed. Four county races have Democratic challengers.
The most prominent race is for Bell County sheriff, where Republican Eddy Lange will face Democrat Frank J. Hernandez. Lange is serving the final months of his second term as Precinct 3 county commissioner. Hernandez is a former investigator with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office.
Five-term Republican incumbent Richard Cortese is vying for the Precinct 1 spot on the commissioners court against Democrat Irene Andrews. Andrews is a special education teacher for Killeen Independent School District.
Rogers Mayor Billy Ray Crow, a Democrat, is facing Republican Bill Schumann in the election for Precinct 1 county commissioner. Democrat Mike Medrano and Republican David R. Barfield are candidates for Precinct 3 Place 1 justice of the peace.
Even in a county that of late has voted for Republicans, Bell County Democratic Party Chairwoman Marianne Miller said many precincts moved toward her party during the 2010 congressional election.
“We’re going to get more out this year,” Miller said. “If Democrats get out to vote, I think we have a good chance to turn Bell County blue.”
Bell County Republican Party Chairwoman Nancy Boston said people should come out to vote no matter what party they identify with.
“I think it’s always important for a free society to express their opinion in any election,” Boston said.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553