Voting. It ain’t over yet…Published: July 08, 2012
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Why, you may be wondering, are all those political campaign signs still gracing our roadsides and front lawns? Didn't we just have not one, but TWO elections within weeks of each other? The answer to the second question is "yes". To the first: "It ain't over yet."
While it is true that all of the municipal races such as City Council and School board were decided on May 12, county, state and federal elections are run differently. First, you must have a primary election, in which voters in each political party choose the candidate they want to run against the candidate chosen by any opposing parties. There is a slight wrinkle, though. In a primary election, you can't win unless you receive over 50% of the votes cast in your race. Not a problem when there are one or two running for the same spot. You'll get 100% if you're unopposed. In a two-person race you either get over half the votes or you don't, in which case you lose. Simple.
The primary election was held on May 29, and the majority of the races, at least on the county level, were won by candidates who scored over 50% of the vote. They didn't need their signs any more, so down they came. But then, you might ask, don't they eventually have to face the winner of the other parties' primaries? Well, normally yes, but in Rockwall County there were no candidates running in parties other than Republican. So if you won on May 29, you'll face no opposition from any other party in November, and can sleep like a normal human until then.
But, if you were in a race with two or more other candidates, chances are you didn't get 50% of the vote. The top two vote-getters in each race still have to face each other in a runoff election on July 31. These are the folks with signs still up. For them the race will be over at that time, as, again, only Republicans put up candidates. Bye bye signs.
So who's left? If you live in Precinct 1, the County Commissioner's race is still undecided. Former Mayor Bill Cecil and former City Councilman Cliff Sevier are looking for that fifty-plus margin. In Precinct 3, current Councilman Mark Russo and former County Judge Chris Florance are slugging it out for Justice of the Peace. And in Precinct 4, Liana Bell Whitten and former Justice of the Peace David Karr face off for his old position.
As a result, voters, your job is still not done. Whether you're Republican, Democrat, or "other", you have a chance to weigh in on who represents you in these open positions, as well as a few others at the state and federal level. Do your homework, make your choice, and exercise the right that a lot of people fought and died to give you.
Early voting starts Monday July 23.