Public hearing set Monday on local polling places

Mark Wilson
County Judge Danny Chambers

A public hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3 in the Somervell County Commissioners Court to discuss the number of election polling locations.

Somervell County used two polling locations for the July 14 Republican Party Runoff Election, and local officials planned to keep it that way for the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election. Those two locations were at the Somervell County Expo Center on U.S. Highway 67, and at the Annex Building at 107 Vernon St. in Glen Rose.

The number of polling locations in Somervell County had been reduced following the March 3 Primary Election from four, with locations representing each of the four precincts.

But a nonprofit organization based in Austin, the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), lobbied with the state government trying to get Somervell County and McLennnan County, among others, to increase the number of polling places.

Members of the public who attend Monday’s hearing will have a chance to speak before the commissioners, and ask questions on that topic. After the commissioners take into account the information, they will consider election procedures and voting equipment, County Judge Danny Chambers said.

“Everybody liked going to the Expo Center (to vote),” Chambers said of the consolidation being challenged by TCRP. “The state feels like we need more (voting sites). Being the second-smallest county in Texas, it was a pretty good setup.”

The Texas Secretary of State will make the final decision on whether Somervell County can keep having two voting locations, or if the number must be expanded.

Christy Covey, elections administrator for Somervell County, said she will send a request to the Secretary of State and submit documentation to support having two locations.

“We want to make it easier on our voters. Anybody in the county can go to either location and vote,” Covey said. “Part of the process is the public hearing. We’d just like to invite anybody out who would like to attend, to speak or to ask questions.”

Covey noted that when four locations — including Oakdale Park and the Senior Center — were being used, there were occasional complications.

“They were all within a mile or two of each other, and that always causes voter confusion,” Covey said.