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MARY MEAUX — Early voting numbers in Mid-County look promising

There is a lot on the ballots for local voters to consider — from the top spot president of the United States and state senator and representative, down to county races such as those of sheriff to local seats and propositions.

The first day of early voting was brisk, with more than 9,000 ballots in Jefferson County cast in person and 2,958 mail-in ballots returned.

While Beaumont saw more voters at its locations, the Hughes Library in Nederland saw 1,066 in one day — the highest of the Mid- and South county cities.

Port Arthur Public Library came in second in Mid- and South County with 940 ballots cast. The Hebert Library in Port Neches and Groves Activity Building were a mere three votes apart with Port Neches seeing 750 and Groves seeing 747.

But there’s another set of voter numbers out there locally; that of the Port Arthur ballot consisting of city council positions and nine propositions.

Port Arthur Public Library saw 395 ballots cast while the Sub-Courthouse had 292 voters.

The usual early voting locations are for the general ballot with the 9,178 ballots cast. Port Arthur’s races saw 687 votes cast.

The Port Arthur ballot is a busy one:

District 1 — Ingrid West-Holmes, Willie “Bae” Lewis and Mike Mason

District 2 — Armando Ruiz and Cal Jones

District 3 — Charlie Lewis Jr., Morris Albright III and Thomas J. Kinlaw III

District 4 — Kenneth Marks, Greg Richard and Jonathan Sanchez

Position 7 — Charlotte Marie Moses, Yadi Cardenas and Rashad A. Harris

Position 8 — Tierranny S. DeCuir, Rosendo Ochoa Jr., John Roy LeBlanc, Donald Ray Frank Sr. and Raymond Scott Jr.

The propositions are equally important; some of which include:

  • Numbering each council position from 1-6 (changing at-large positions 7 and 8 to 5 and 6) and calling for councilmembers elected to positions 5 and 6 to serve one four-year term starting in 2023
  • Creation of a Pleasure Island Department, with the city manager directing and controlling in the same manner as with all other city departments; and
  • Sale of Carver Terrace, Civic, Felix & Milton Barker, Hughen, Immigrant and Montgomery parks.

While it may be too early to tell definitively, it does look like there’s need for a little extra push to get Port Arthurans to the polls.

One can wonder if the voter turnout for Port Arthur specific races is related to the fact that Port Arthurans are forced to cast two ballots — one for the general election and one for Port Arthur?

Then to further muddy the water the Port Arthur Public Library and Sub-Courthouse are the only locations Port Arthurans can cast ballots in both elections before Election Day. The convenience of voting at any of the sites across the county is good only for non-Port Arthurans, unless they only want to vote in the general election.

County officials said the city did not meet the required guidelines of having an updated voter database — a problem a decade in the making. Hopefully this issue will be addressed before the next election cycle.

Here’s hoping all who can, will exercise their right to vote.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com