Ballot order drawn for police chief, SMD 5 runoff; early voting days extended

A man casting his vote inside a voting booth

The ballot order for the July 2 runoff for San Angelo police chief and the City Council Single Member District 5 seat was drawn during Tuesday’s San Angelo City Council meeting.

In the police chief race, incumbent Tim Vasquez’s name will appear first on the ballot, followed by challenger Frank Carter.

In SMD 5’s race, incumbent Elizabeth Grindstaff’s name will appear first, followed by challenger Lane Carter.

Votes from the May 7 election were canvassed at the meeting. Final numbers showed Frank Carter edged Vasquez out in votes with Carter garnering 33.62 percent of total votes and Vasquez at 31.35. In the SMD 5 race, final numbers showed challenger Lane Carter with 45.29 percent of the total vote with incumbent Grindstaff receiving 45.18 percent.

Early voting in the runoff has been extended to nine days to include a Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, the City Council officially called the runoff election for July 2.

Early voting will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 20-24; from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 25 and on June 27-28; and from 12:30 p.m.-5: 30 p.m. Sunday, June 26, in the Tom Green County Elections Office, 113 W. Beauregard Ave. Paper or electronic ballots are available during early voting.

“The addition of two days of early voting are meant to ensure voters who will be unavailable on the July Fourth holiday weekend have every opportunity to participate in the runoff election,” said City Clerk Bryan Kendrick, City of San Angelo’s elections officer. “In fact, the hours of voting on Saturday, June 25, will be the same as on Saturday, July 2.”

According to a release from the City, state law required the council to call the election on July 2. Federal regulations and state election law mandate a 45-day window between the canvassing of votes, which occurred Wednesday morning, and a runoff to allow ballots to be mailed to registered voters who are outside the United States.

Locally, according to the City, the regulation protects the voting rights of 211 San Angelo military members who are serving overseas. State law also requires that runoff elections occur within 20-45 days of the canvassing of the vote. Together, those regulations provided for only one possible election date – on July 2, the City said.

San Angelo NOW’s investigation into the state election code showed no law requiring the specific date that votes could be canvassed, only that canvassing must happen anywhere from three to 11 days after the May 7 election. According to election code from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, it was possible for the votes to be canvassed as early as Tuesday, May 10, three days after the election, if there were no outstanding overseas or provisional ballots. Such ballots were not made public in Wednesday’s meeting. Based on those state laws, the runoff election could have been held as early as June 25, if the City had chosen to have a special session to canvass the May 7 election results.

Election canvassing rule source Secretary of State

 

The City Clerk set the canvassing date to May 18, exactly 45 days from July 2, the first day eligible to have the runoff election based on the date the City chose to canvass the vote.

The July 2 runoff is necessary because no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in the races for police chief and District 5 City Council member in the May 7 election.

The deadline to register to vote in the July 2 runoff election is June 2. All registered voters will be eligible to vote in the runoff regardless of whether they voted in the May 7 election.

Voter registration applications are available at VoteTomGreenCounty.org; in the Tom Green County Elections Office on the first floor of the Edd B. Keyes Building; and at all three Tom Green County library locations. Applications can also be obtained by mail or by calling 325-659-6541. Completed applications can be returned in person or by mail; mailed applications must be postmarked by June 2.

Citizens can also register to vote when renewing their driver’s license in person at a Texas Department of Public Safety office. To determine eligibility to vote or registration status, go to votetexas.gov/register-to-vote. Voter registration applications are also available at the link.

All registered city voters will be eligible to vote for police chief, a citywide office. Only voters in City Council Single Member District 5 will be able vote in that race. Voters can access a map of the City Council districts at cosatx.us/council. Voters can also determine which Council district they live in by clicking the GIS map viewer on the same page.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. July 2 at 20 locations in Tom Green County. Only electronic ballots will be available on Election Day.