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October 22, 2011

Early voting starts Monday

Constitutional amendments, ESDs and alcohol sales on ballot

Athens — Early voting starts Monday for elections to be decided Nov. 8 in Texas.

Voters around the state will weigh in on a slate of constitutional amendment propositions. In some areas of Henderson County voters will also decide on the creation of an Emergency Services District and the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Early voting will be conducted through Nov. 4 at the Henderson County Election Center in Athens, the Chandler Community Center, Seven Points City Hall and Murchison City Hall.

The constitutional amendment ballot includes 10 issues. In simplified language the propositions concern whether or not to:

1. allow the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran to receive a homestead tax exemption;

2. renew authority for Texas Water Development Board bonds;

3. authorize the state bond authority to finance low-interest student loans;

4. allow counties to participate in certain tax financing zones;

5. allowing city and county interlocal contracts without a tax sinking fund;

6. distribution from the Perma-nent School Fund to the Available School Fund;

7. authorizing districts in El Paso County to issue bonds for parks and recreational facilities;

8. appraising open-space land for water stewardship;

9. allowing a pardon by the governor after successful deferred adjudication;

10.  Lengthening the period before county officials must resign to run for another office.

An analysis of the propositions is available by visiting the Henderson County website.

The last state constitutional amendment election in 2009 drew only a sparse turnout, with just over 8 percent casting ballots around the state. In Henderson County, the turnout was just under 8 percent, with less than 4,000 of the 48,000 registered voters going to the polls.

In addition to the constitutional amendment questions, Murchison voters will citizens will decide Nov. 8 whether they want their city to join the growing list of municipalities allowing the sale of liquor. In August, the Henderson County Commissioners Court approved the  petition to call an election to legalize the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption only.

  Another issue involving liquor sales is on the ballot in Gun Barrel City, where voters will decide whether to reverse a city council decision allowing late-night liquor sales in certain establishments.

  On the east end of the county, voters in a section of Pct. 4, south of Chandler, will decide whether to create an emergency services district.

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