Polling place distance may cost votes from small towns

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON CO., TX-Just days before runoff elections, two Grayson County mayors are concerned their citizens may not be able to vote. Both Bells and Tom Bean mayors tell us because of redistricting, their assigned polling places have been moved up to 10 miles out of town. They said it may keep some from casting their ballot, especially elderly residents.
Tom Bean Mayor, Sherry Howard said citizens have always cast their vote in town in the past. But two weeks ago, she found out their polling place is located in Sherman.

"I was surprised that we were not able to go to Whitewright. It's very much closer, it's only 5 miles down the road and a lot of people don't know where the United Way building is in Sherman," she said.

Bells Mayor, Gary Martin said he was also surprised to find out they will be voting in Whitewright instead of in Bells City hall.

"It's an inconvenience. But I know that when they do this, probably because they're not expecting as big a turnout as it is for the general elections. It could be that they're trying, like everybody, to cut back on costs because it does cost to put on an election," he said.

Both say it will be a hassle for some of their residents...which may cost the county their vote.

"If a lot of people have to travel, they're not gonna vote. It's too much trouble for them, especially if they're older you know? A lot of them won't," said Martin.

"There's a lot of citizens in Tom Bean that because of the hard economic times and the price of gas, they're not gonna go into Sherman to vote," said Howard.

Grayson County Commissioner, Johnny Waldrip said to save money, the county cut the number of polling sites from 36 to 12.

"We didn't think it was proper to be cut but we didn't have the choice of the matter. The decision is solely with the county clerk who is the elections administrator. It does put a burden on the people, especially the older people," said Waldrip.

"We have a lot of citizens in Tom Bean that want to vote and I don't want to discourage them from voting because of this," said Howard.

"By doing what we're doing, we confuse everybody. They don't know where to go, they go to this place at this time and go to this place at another time and people will just quit coming," said Waldrip.

To avoid that problem, Martin and Howard came up with a solution.

"We got the opportunity for somebody to bring a van to haul back and forth and it's not gonna cost the county nothing, not gonna cost the city nothing. They're just some individuals interested in helping out so I said 'yeah, that'd be good. That'd be good to have,'" said Martin.

"I had a concerned citizen who also approached me and they said they would offer a free van service for the citizens of Tom Bean or anybody around Tom bean who would like to go up and vote," said Howard.

Waldrip said the number of polling places will be back to 36 for the November elections.

If you live in Bells or Tom Bean and you need a ride to vote, contact your city hall:

Bells City Hall
203 South Broadway Street
Bells, TX
(903) 965-7744

Tom Bean City Hall
201 S Britton St.
Tom Bean, TX
(903) 546-6321

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  • by Bill Location: Sherman on Jul 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
    Neither Waldrip nor Gary should be elected Sheriff. I vote none of the above!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by old dog Location: grayson on Jul 28, 2012 at 08:20 AM
    cry cry cry when i was young and lived on a farm my parents had to go 15 or 18 miles to vote. so if you want to vote go vote if not don't that is just like bussing the kid to school 3 blocks from home i walked over a mile both ways rain sleet snow hot cold. we have raised a bunch of cry babys.
    • reply
      by old school on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM in reply to old dog
      old dog, I couldn't agree with you more. Sad but true.
  • by Resident Location: Grayson on Jul 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM
    This is all about the "ins" trying to make sure they don't lose their hold on local politics. If it wasn't, they would make sure the outlying areas would have an opportunity to vote more easily. It seems strange that the polls that were closed for the runoff were the ones Waldrip did well at while the ones Gary won remained open for the runoff. Seems this same kind of shady dealings happened not long ago with the Grayson County College bond issue. How soon we forget. Please make an effort and get out and vote. We need new folks in office and remember this when the county clerk comes back up for re-election as well.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2012 at 06:33 AM
    Where is Eric Holder and all of his concern about "disenfranchising" voters? He doesn't seem concerned as long as it's mostly white voters being disenfranchised! C'mon November!
    • reply
      by Mickey on Jul 27, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to
      Yea, like you are really concenrned about the voters in Tom Bean. Here's a suggestion, why not contact the Justice Dept and complain. Then you can complain about the Justice Dept not taking any action, or being the big federal government boogey man coming down here and meddling in Grayson County affairs. Hey it would be a win-win situation for you. You can gripe about the feds either way it goes. A sorta Romney moment kinda thing.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM in reply to Mickey
        You act like there's no history of Eric Holder dismissing clear claims of voter fraud and intimidation when it potentially disenfranchises primarily Whites. Maybe you can name one case where the Holder Justice Dept filed suit when Whites were disenfranchised? I can name a dozen where they filed frivolous to the point of hilarious suits on behalf of minorities, including the recent case against the state of Texas. We should be embarrassed that such phoney and baseless cases have been filed by our federal government. He has the lowest success rate of any AG in recent history and is clearly a racist.
        • reply
          by Logic on Jul 28, 2012 at 05:08 AM in reply to
          Yeah I am dismissing those claims of voter fraud and intimidation of white voters. Please enlighten us specifically on those cases please....
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2012 at 07:36 AM in reply to
          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504564_162-20010581-504564.html Once again Logic, you can't be bothered to check before showing your ***. And if you are that unaware of the Texas case then why are you even commenting on a subject so close to home and of which you know so very little? Did you read any of the testimony on the TX voter ID case? The Justice Depts witnesses were buffoons and liars. They should be prosecuted for perjury, but no chance of that happening since they were coached by the same people that would have to prosecute.
        • reply
          by Logic on Jul 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM in reply to
          Wow...you ARE talking about that Blank Panther case. First, it was in the ghetto! Nearly every voter going there was black! And the testimony of the police who responded lead to the dismal of everyone except, you guessed it, the guy with the stick. He was given a restraining order against going anywhere near a polling station. Now...what do you THINK should have been done to them? But most of all, you are talking about a single, isolated incident. This wasn't part of any systematic effort to disenfranchise white voters. No white people where dragged behind a truck or lynched in the making of this incident! But again..what punishment should they receive?
    • reply
      by Wacko on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM in reply to
      Yes. Eric Holder is briefed daily on the goings on in Tom Bean, Texas. This is pretty much all he thinks about from the time he awakens in the morning, until he goes to bed at night. He knows the election will come down to how many folks in Tom Bean are willing to drive to another town to vote. Yesterday, he had a high profile meeting with his top advisors to discuss the possibility of sending an anti white voter task force, led by the Black Panthers, to Tom Bean to plan road construction on the highways leading out of town on election day, to further hinder whitey from voting.
    • reply
      by high horse on Jul 28, 2012 at 07:42 AM in reply to
      Those who are ridiculing the criticism of Holder must not be aware that even the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has officially stated the the Holder Justice Dept is not prosecuting voter rights cases in a race neutral fashion based upon a number of cases involving the rights of Whites? Most have no idea how radical Left the Obama Administration is across the board and how racist its policies have become. It's all about divide and victimize, us against them.
      • reply
        by Logic on Jul 28, 2012 at 07:27 PM in reply to high horse
        If it was about divide and victimize more people would be aware of it. Even a political junkie like myself had to be reminded of that Black Panther case back in 2008! Seems the only people using this case are those for political reasons...it certainly isn't part of a prevailing pattern and will likely remain a scapegoat for future conservative "outrage". Had the Black Panther Case actually prevented some from voting, since after a few minutes of their behavior police responded, then you may have something to crow about...otherwise its WAAAAY overblown by those who would profit from it.
  • by Somebody Loses Votes on Jul 27, 2012 at 05:24 AM
    Well forget that. Why is Tom Bean voting in Sherman and not Whitewright - Whitewright is closer and it's easier to get in and out. I'm not adding 25 miles onto a 75 mile morning trip to downtown Dallas just to vote for one of two evil men. This county is really messed up.
  • by Ricky Bobby on Jul 27, 2012 at 03:55 AM
    I would say that closing polling stations had the desired effect then.
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