With the start of early voting less than a week away, Somervell County Elections Administrator Cathy Thomas is buzzing with activity.

Early voting kicks off Monday, and the race to the Oval Office is expected to draw a large number of voters to the polls. In addition to casting a ballot in the presidential race, Somervell County voters will also be asked to weigh in on two county offices.

With incumbent commissioner Lloyd Wirt, Pct. 3, not seeking another term, voters in Precincts 3 and 6 will decide between Democrat Marty McPherson and Republican Kenneth "Woody" Wood. See the associated Q&A for more information on these candidates.

Meanwhile, voters in Precincts 3, 4 and 6 will decide between Incumbent Democrat Alan Thompson and Republican challenger Craig Dodson in the race for Constable Place 2.

There are also a number of a number of state and federal offices that will appear on ballots across the county. See 'What's on the Ballot' in attached document.

As county, state and federal candidates were preparing for the last minute reach to constituents, Thomas was busy Monday ensuring voters have all they information the need to cast their ballots.

Straight-party confusion

With a long list of candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot, Thomas said voters are asking questions about casting a straight-party ballot. Voting straight-party means you vote for all candidates running on the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian or Green party ballot.

But Thomas explained that it is possible to cast a straight-party ballot while at the same time picking and choosing candidates from another party.

"If you cast a straight-party vote and also cast a vote for an opponent, your vote for the opponent will be counted," Thomas said. "If you vote straight-party and do not darken an oval next to the name of any other candidate, you vote will automatically be tallied for the party you chose. For example, if a voter wanted to cast a straight-party Republican ballot but wanted to vote for a local Democratic candidate, they would darken the straight party oval at the top of the ballot and also darken the oval by the local candidate's name."

Individuals who wish to consider each office separately simple mark their candidates of choice one at a time - for voters in Somervell County Precinct 3, that's 22 races to consider.

Sample ballots may be obtained at the Elections Office or County Clerk's Office, located in the County Annex or at co.somervell.tx.us.

When and where

Thomas advises voters that early voting will no longer be held in vault the county clerk's office. Polls will be set up in the Somervell County Annex Conference Room, adjacent to the office of County Judge Mike Ford.

Voters can access the conference room by using the rear annex entrance at 102 N.E. Vine Street, across Vine Street from Hollywood & Vine. The closest parking areas and entrances at 106 Elm Street, at the old post office entrance and at 102 Vine Street.

Ballots can be cast 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 - Friday, Oct. 26; 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 - Friday, Nov. 2.

For individuals with disabilities or for any reason unable to make it from the parking lot to the polls, Thomas said the county will offer curbside voting.

"All they have to do is give us a call and we will have someone meet them outside the annex or send someone inside to inform us and we will bring their ballot to them," she said.

Election Day voters must vote at their designated precincts, where polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Polling places are as follows:

Pct. 1 - County Annex Conference Room Pct. 2 - Somervell County Citizens' Center Paluxy Room, located at 209 S.W. Barnard Street Pct. 3 - Community Center, located at 107 Sheppard Street Pct. 4 - Oakdale Park Convention Center, located at 1019 N.E. Barnard Street Pct. 6- Rainbow Baptist Church, 1571 N. FM 200 in Rainbow

For more information, contact Thomas at (254) 897-9470.