The Port Arthur News
It was 620 years ago that Christopher Columbus’ first round-trip voyage between Spain and the Americas changed the world and now another impact can be felt in modern-day Jefferson County politics.
The 30-day period prior to the Nov. 6 general election end Sunday but because it fell on a weekend and Monday is Columbus Day, the deadline is extended even further.
“Tuesday, Oct. 9, is the last day to register or to make changes,” said Jefferson County Voter Registration Supervisor Gwen Green. “And if you’re mailing it, it has to be postmarked Oct. 9.”
Voter registration applications can be printed out online at www.co.jefferson.tx.us and are available at the county courthouse in Beaumont, the Subcourthouse in Port Arthur and the tax office in Mid-County.
Monday is not a county holiday so all offices will have regular hours.
On Tuesday, Green said that the voter registration office in Beaumont will have extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while the two other offices will maintain regular hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Jefferson County has a history of last-minute voter registrations with 4,963 people doing so in the 30 days leading up the 2008 general election deadline and 4,496 people prior to the 2004 general election.
And while it’s impossible that 100 percent of all registered voters will cast ballots, the percentage of last-minute registrations is significant.
Four years ago, 3.3 percent of all eligible voters became so from Sept. 5 to Oct. 6. Jefferson County voters chose Barack Obama over John McCain by a 50.8 percent to 48.5 percent margin.
In 2004, that trend held somewhat with 2.7 percent of all eligible voters signing up before the October 4 deadline. John Kerry garnered 51.2 percent of the vote in Jefferson County to George W. Bush’s 48.4 percent.
Voters on the endangered species list?
Since 2004, the number of total registered voters in Jefferson County has decreased 13.3 percent.
The bulk of that drop happened from 2004 to 2008 with the total number of registered voters in the general election going from 165,217 to 151, 568.
As of Thursday, there were 145,796 registered voters. Of those, 16,810 were registered Democrats and 11,533 were Republicans. A voter declares his or herself a member of a political party when he or she votes in that party’s primary.
If you run into someone who says that they vote more for the person than the party they represent, odds are that person is a Republican.
In 2008, of all the straight-ticket ballots cast, 34,547 or 62.4 percent, went to Democrats with the remaining 20,604 or 37.2 percent going to the Republican Party. Libertarians accounted for another 192 such ballots.
Straight-ticket voting accounted for more than 62 percent of the 88,984 ballots cast. Overall, nearly 59 percent of 151,568 registered voters headed to the polls in 2008.
In 2,004, 93,291 people voted in the general election with straight-ticket numbers accounting for 56.4 percent of the vote.
Democrats came out on top again with 36,011 votes or 68.4 percent of all such ballots cast with 16,315 people voting straight-ticket Republican for 31 percent.