Monday is last day to vote on constitutional amendments, bond proposals

Published on Saturday, 5 October 2013 21:07 - Written by From Staff Reports

The final day to register to vote on November’s Texas constitutional amendments and local bond proposals is Monday.

Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson said applications are available at the election office and online atwww.votetexas.gov . Applications filed by mail must be postmarked no later than Monday.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by Election Day, a resident in the county where the application is submitted and not convicted of a felony (felons may be eligible if they have completed their sentence, probation and parole).

Smith County voters will consider nine statewide constitutional amendments and three local proposals.

Photo identification will also be required under a newly administered state law. Several identification options are available. If you have an unexpired Texas driver’s license, state identification card, Concealed Handgun License, U.S. passport, a military identification or citizenship certificate with photos — you can access ballots.

But state and local election officials recommend residents with valid identification check the name listed on their preferred form against what is printed on their voter registration card to ensure names are the same.

Texas residents who are U.S. citizens and eligible to vote — but who do not have one of those forms of photo identification — can apply for Election identification Certificates, which are free and valid for six years.

To qualify, an applicant must prove U.S. citizenship and Texas residency. A certified copy of a birth certificate and two of 33 possible supporting documents, which include a Social Security card, W-2, an out of state driver’s license, a voter registration card or pilot’s license, are required to prove U.S. citizenship and identity.

Certified copies of birth certificates are available at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services for $22.

Election Identification Certificates are available at local Texas Department of Public Safety offices.

Chapel Hill ISD voters will consider a $31.2 million bond proposal to pay for facility improvements, including the campuses, the football stadium and baseball/softball complex. The bond is expected to increase the Chapel Hill property tax 14.1 cents to $1.394 per $100 valuation from $1.253 per $100.

This means the annual tax bill for residents with a $100,000 home would increase $141.

Two local option alcohol proposals also will be on November ballots.

Voters in Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and JP Precinct 4 will consider legal sales of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

It will be the first time for JP Precinct 1 voters to weigh in on the issue. Most of Precinct 1 lies within Tyler’s city limits.

Precinct 4 voters rejected legalizing sales twice.

Voters rejected alcohol in May 2009, 52.71 percent, or 1,461 votes, to 47.29 percent, or 1,311 of 2,772 total votes. They denied sales a second time in November 2010 by 50 votes, 2,350 to 2,300, or 50.55 percent to 49.45 percent.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 boundaries run north of Tyler on the east side of County Road 35 (Lavender Road) and on the north and east side of Loop 323 down the northeast side of Texas Highway 64 to New Chapel Hill, then runs east to the north side of Overton.

The nine statewide constitutional amendments include propositions to exempt spouses of veterans killed in action from property taxes; to create the State Water Implementation Fund to finance water projects and to expand the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following formal proceedings.

For more information on how to register, go to the Smith County Elections Department website atwww.smith-county.com or to the Secretary of State’s website atwww.votetexas.gov . You can also call the county election department at 903-590-4777 or visit in person at 200 E. Ferguson St., Suite 500 in Tyler.