Election gets underway after ballot hiccups

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GONZALES —  Early voting by personal appearance is underway in Gonzales County — but it took some extra effort to have the polls ready when voters showed up Tuesday morning.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the contractor who prepares the electronic ballots, refused to deliver ballots for the Republican and Democratic primaries because of an unpaid bill from the last election, according to County Clerk Lee Riedel.

Democratic Party County Chairman Ken Mosher II said the issue was the result of a “paperwork snafu” and pledged to have it resolved before election day, he said.

ES&S finally agreed to release the GOP ballots, but Friday afternoon they still hadn’t arrived  in Gonzales.  Riedel said a UPS driver had pledged to track down the package and deliver it to her home — even if it took until Saturday. They delivered the package to Riedel’s office shortly after she left for the day, Riedel said.

She spent the weekend preparing the ballots.

Voters in the Democratic primary will cast paper ballots which are marked “PROOF”, Riedel said. County Judge David Bird — who is running for re-election in the Democratic primary — provided 243 xeroxed copies of the proof. They are numbered in red ink and must be initialed by an election official on the back in order to be counted, Riedel said.

Through Wednesday, the County Clerk’s office reported that 32 votes had been cast in the Democratic primary, eight of those in person. Seven voters visited the Gonzales early voting site at the County Clerk’s office and one voted in Waelder.

Attendance was much higher for the Republican primary. A total of 308 votes have been cast as of the end of voting Wednesday.

Seventy-nine in person votes were case in Gonzales; 36 in Waelder; and seven in Nixon.

Over all, 122 votes were cast by personal appearance; 186 were mailed to the county clerk’s office.

There are 12,029 registered voters in the county.

Early voting continues through 4:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 28 during normal business hours. Voters are reminded to bring a valid photo id with them when they come to vote.

Valid forms of photo identification include a Texas driver’s license; identification card issued by Texas Department of Public Safety; a concealed handgun license; or a U.S. passport; U.S. military identification card or a U.S. citizenship certificate with photo.

If you do not have any of the above listed forms of ID, obtain a free election identification certificate from the local driver’s license office.

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