By MARY RAINWATER
Early voting for the March 4 Primary Election has come to a close, and now those who didn't make it to the courthouse annex have just a few days to finalize their decisions on whose box to color in this Tuesday.
The Anderson County Elections Office reports that, as of 7 p.m. Thursday, 2,414 early voters had cast their votes for the upcoming election. Regular voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at respective voting locations.
Several local races will be decided on the Republican ticket Tuesday including that of county judge, district attorney, county clerk, district clerk and county treasurer. State races on both ballots include that of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, comptroller, and more.
A big change to this year's voting process is a new voter identification law that requires all Texas voters to show a form of photo identification at the polling location before they will be permitted to cast a vote.
Those forms of identification include: Texas driver's license, ID card, concealed handgun license, U.S. passport, military ID or U.S. citizenship certificate. The name on the voter registration record must match that on the identification, or the voter will be required to fill out an affidavit at the polls.
“If the name does not exactly match the name on the voter's photo ID, but are substantially similar, the voter will have to sign an affidavit stating they are the same person,” Anderson County Elections Administrator Casey Brown said in a recent news release.
Texas is one of 10 states running elections under a new voter ID law this year, and the first state to test it out at an election.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo ID at the polls without violating their constitutional rights. And last year, the high court threw out a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, a decision that allowed voter ID laws to take effect in states where voting procedures had been under strict federal oversight for nearly 50 years.
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) creating a new requirement for voters to show photo identification when voting in person. While pending review within the judicial system, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively ended all pending litigation. As a result, voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas elections.
Georgia and Indiana adopted some of the first voter ID laws. This year, in addition to the Texas law, new or stricter photo-identification voting laws take effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.
For more information about elections, visit the Elections page for Anderson County at www.co.anderson.tx.us. Other links include www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates or www.votetexas.gov
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
The complete list of county, state and federal candidates is as follows:
• District Attorney — Republicans Doug Lowe (incumbent) and Allyson Mitchell
• County Judge — Republicans Robert Johnston (incumbent) and James W. Westley (current Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace)
• State District Judges
87th Judicial District — Republican Debra Oakes Evans (incumbent)
369th Judicial District — Republican Bascom W. Bentley III (incumbent)
• County Court at Law — Republican Jeff Doran (incumbent)
• District Clerk — Republicans Janice Staples (incumbent) and Sue Sessions
• County Clerk — Republicans Mark C. Staples and Misty Cross
• County Treasurer — Republicans Tara Lambright Holliday and Rafael Hernandez
• County Surveyor — Democrat Gene Russell (incumbent)
• County Commissioners
Precinct 2 — Democrat Rashad Mims I (incumbent); Republican Michael W. Lumpkins
Precinct 4 — Republican Joey Hill (incumbent)
• Justices of the Peace
Precinct 1 — Republican Gary Thomas (incumbent)
Precinct 2 — Democrat Carl Davis (incumbent)
Precinct 3 — Republican James E. Todd (incumbent)
Precinct 4 — Republican James Sharp
• State Senate, District 3 — Republican Robert Nichols of Jacksonville (incumbent)
• State House, District 8 — Republicans Byron Cook of Corsicana (incumbent), Bobby Vickery of Corsicana and Charles E. Morgan
• Governor — Republicans Miriam Martinez, Lisa Fritsch, (current Texas Attorney General) Greg Abbott, SECEDE Kilgore; Democrats Wendy R. Davis of Fort Worth and Reynaldo “Ray” Madrigal of Corpus Christi.
• Lieutenant Governor — Republicans David Dewhurst of Houston (incumbent), Jerry Patterson (current General Land Office commissioner), Todd Staples of Palestine (current Commissioner of Agriculture) and Dan Patrick of Houston; Democrat (and current state senator for the 26th District) Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.
• Attorney General — Republicans Barry Smitherman of Houston (current Texas Railroad Commissioner), Dan Branch of Dallas and Ken Paxton; Democrat Sam Houston of Houston.
• Comptroller — Republicans Harvey Hilderbran of Kerrville, Raul Torres of Corpus Christi, Glenn Hegar of Katy and Debra Medina of Wharton; Democrat Mike Collier of Kingwood.
• Commissioner of Agriculture — Republicans Eric Opiela, Joe Cotten, J. Allen Carnes of Uvalde, Sid Miller of Stephenville and Tommy Merritt of Longview; Democrats Jim Hogan of Cleburne, Richard “Kinky” Friedman of Austin and Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III of San Antonio.
• Commissioner of General Land Office (currently held by Patterson) — Democrat John Cook of El Paso; Republicans David Watts of Judson and George P. Bush of Austin.
• State Railroad Commissioner — Republicans Malachi Boyuls, Becky Berger, Ryan Sitton of Houston and Wayne Christian of Center; Democrat Steve Brown of Missouri City.
• Texas Supreme Court, Chief Justice — Republican Nathan Hecht (incumbent).
• Texas Supreme Court, Place 6 — Democrat Lawrence Edward Meyers of Fort Worth
• Texas Supreme Court, Place 7 — Republican Jeffrey S. Boyd of Austin; Democrat Gina Benavides of McAllen
• Texas Supreme Court, Place 8 — Republican Phil Johnson of Austin (incumbent )
• Chief Justice of Court of Appeals, 12th Court of Appeals (Tyler) — Republican James T. Worthen of Big Sandy (Incumbent)
• Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 3 — Republican Bert Richardson; Democrat John Granberg of El Paso
No filings were reported for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judges in Places 4 and 9, currently held by Paul Womack and Cathy Cochran, respectively.
• U.S. Representative, 5th Congressional District — Republican Jeb Hensarling of Dallas (incumbent)
• U.S. Senate — Republicans John Cornyn (incumbent), Linda Vega, Reid Reasor, Chris Mapp of Port O'Connor, Steve Stockman of Webster, Ken Cope, Curt Cleaver of Keller and Dwayne Stovall; Democrats Maxey Marie Scherr of El Paso, Michael “Fjet” Fjetland of Sugar Land, Kesha Rogers of Houston, David M. Alameel of Dallas and Harry Kim of Midland.