By Elsa Maxey
After the first day of early voting “some sites saw huge increases,” said John Oldham, Fort Bend County Elections Administrator, on Tuesday morning. The countdown to the November 6 general election is almost in the single digits and with early voting currently underway, it’s become a good option for many since voting may take place at any polling location in Fort Bend County. What makes it even move convenient are the 18 early voting sites, even though they are two down from the 20 in 2008.
Oldham told the Star that “overall it went well,” and “we had 13,264 voters checked in compared to 12,081 on the first day in 2008.”
Oldham reports that Cinco Library jumped from 771 to 1,857 and that in 2008, “we had U of H (University of Houston) at Cinco with 743.” Harmony Academy had 487 early votes cast this Monday, Fulshear jumped from 252 to 414, “probably as a result of population growth in the area,” he said. Sugar Land’s four sites are showing 3,461 early votes cast as compared to 3,061 in 2008 when there were five sites.
Locally, voters here will elect state representatives, judges, a sheriff, county commissioners, the county’s attorney and the tax assessor/collector, their congressman, and other representatives.
The Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Precinct 1 race between incumbent Richard Morrison, a Democrat, and Bruce J. Fleming, the Republican, who had earned the county Republican Party’s support, has stirred a bit of a controversy and concern. Reported allegations against Fleming resulted in the party’s withdrawal of support due to claims relating to Fleming having voted in two different states in the same general elections dating back to 2006. Fleming is also alleged to have voted in both the Republican and Democratic primaries in 2008 in Fort Bend County verified by the Star.
Former Republican Party Chair Rick Miller is credited with recruiting Fleming as a precinct chair and naming him “Precinct Chair of the Year,” a newly created honor during Miller’s tenure as the chairman of the party. Miller himself is a candidate for state legislative House District 26 and is challenged by Vy Nguyen, a Democrat, seeking incumbent Charlie Howard’s seat which is being vacated.
Some speculate that the association between Miller and Fleming and the Republicans withdrawing their support of Fleming may have straight ticket Republican voters crossing party lines in this election.
At the top of the general election ballot is the presidential race, and just this Monday, the start of early voting here, locals joined others in the nation as they tuned in to the last debate between incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger.
In other races to be impacted by local voters are those statewide that include railroad commissioners and judicial seats. There’s also the U.S. Senate race. Republican Ted Cruz, who earned the Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senator to replace retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison, is facing Democrat Paul Sadler.
Expected Vote Number
The Elections Administrator said that it mailed out 11,467 vote by mail ballots and it has one week left to accept applications. So far, 6,778 have been returned. Oldham said, “It is a little early to tell if the turnout will remain heavy. There was an organized effort to get people out on the first day.”
Earlier this month, the Fort Bend Voters League was involved in a “Power of One Vote” voter registration festival at Sugar Land Town Square partnering with FBISD student and program scholar Chris Sabbagh. Reports indicate it was a success.
On the down side, this week when a working group of student interns not even in their 20’s was reminded to exercise their right to vote in this important election, one seemingly disinterested said, “I only vote in American Idol,” and another said, “it’s a new era, we know our vote doesn’t matter.” It does. Remember the recent one vote win in Sugar Land?
Fort Bend County has 340,802 registered voters eligible for this election at this time compared to 300,402 on Election Day in 2008. Of those, there were 205,931 votes, a turnout of 68.6%, said Oldham. “At similar percentage turnout, (it) would mean about 233,000 voters in this election.”
Visit www.fort-bend.tx.us for a sample ballot and the times and dates of the voting sites, which may vary from one location to the other.
• Beasley City Hall – 319 S. 3rd Street, Beasley
• Chasewood Clubhouse – 7622 Chasewood Drive, Missouri City
• Cinco Ranch Branch Library – 2620 Commercial Center Blvd
• First Colony Conference Center – 3232 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land
• FBC Road and Bridge (Needville) – 3743 School Street, Needville
• Four Corners Community Center – 15700 Old Richmond Road, Sugar Land
• Harmony Science Academy – 22400 Grand Corner, Katy
• Hightower High School – 3333 Hurricane Lane, Missouri City
• Irene Stern Community Center – 6920 Fulshear-Katy Road, Fulshear
• Lost Creek Park – 3703 Lost Creek Blvd, Sugar Land
• Meadows Place City Hall – One Troyan Dr., Meadows Place
• Missouri City Community Center – 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City
• Pecan Grove Baptist Church, 1727 FM 359, Richmond
• Randall’s – 5800 New Territory Blvd., Sugar Land
• Richmond Water Maintenance Facility, 110 N. 8th Street, Richmond
• Rosenberg Annex Building – 4520 Reading Road, Rosenberg
• Sienna Branch Library – 8411 Sienna Springs Blvd, Missouri City
• Sugar Land Methodist Church – 431 Eldridge, Sugar Land