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Election turnout heavy in Early Voting — Mayoral race draws most interest

HOUSTON – Early voting for candidates and propositions is currently in progress, from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5th, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

One ballot position of local interest is a trustee election for Aldine ISD. The incumbent Jose Palacios is running against Patricia Ann Bourgeois. Palacios was appointed to the position last August after the retirement of trustee Marine Jones. Palacios has six children that have attended or graduated from Aldine schools. Other AISD trustees running unopposed are Rose Avalos, Rick Ogden, and Steve Mead.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart has reported that early voting is running heavier that last election, apparently because of the interest in the mayor’s race, pitting incumbent Annise Parker versus challenger Ben Hall. He also said that the heavier turnout could be related to interest in early voting due to the requirement for a photo ID.

The ballot is long, and this favors early voting, too. Ballot choices include 9 Constitutional Amendments, the Mayor’s race, City Council seats, Houston Community College trustees, Houston ISD trustees, and two propositions related to the Astrodome and a joint processing center for arrested individuals.

In addition to Parker and Hall, seven other candidates are on the ballot. Parker is running on her record of services with low taxes, and Hall is challenging on job and economic growth issues.

Stanart said that in the first week of early voting, he had received almost 30,000 votes, of which 10,000 of those are mail ballots. He said that this was double the amount from the election two years ago, and the most he has received in early voting in the last 12 years.

A complete guide to the elections is available from the League of Women Voters, at www.lwvhouston.org.

The nine amendments require study to know how to vote, but most sources recommend a YES vote on all nine. The proposition receiving the most attention is #6 creating a Water Fund for future water projects in the state. It allows $2 billion to be transfered from the “Rainy Day Fund” into a revolving loan account that would be used for state-wide water projects, and then repaid for ongoing new projects.

The other amendment of interest to many is #5, which allows Reverse Mortgages to be used for second homes or downsizing to another homestead residence.

City Council race for District B finds the incumbent, Jerry Davis, facing three challengers. The main issue will be whether Davis has done a good job representing this district.

City Council District H is now represented by Ed Gonzalez, who does not have an opponent and will be reseated.

Voters also will vote for “at-large” candidates for city countil, and some familiar names are on this ballot position, including Roy Morales, who ran previously for mayor, and Brad Bradford, former police chief.

Controversial City Controller Ronald Green is challenged by Bill Frazer, an experienced CPA. Frazer is endorsed by the Houston Chronicle over Green.

The ballot will include election of new trustees for Houston Community College, and running are incumbents Yolanda Navarro Flores and Bruce Austin, as well as challengers.

For those who live in the city, they will vote on Houston ISD trustees, too. These include incumbents Anna Eastmen, the current president of the board, and Harvin Moore.

Depending upon where you live, you might also be asked to vote on local issues such as MUD (Municipal Utility District) bonds.

The East Aldine Management District will have a proposition on the ballot to collect a 1 cent sales tax in recently annexed areas of the district. This tax does not affect local residents, except for purchases in those areas. Funds are used for district projects.