Election Officials Concerned with Low Run-off Turnout

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - West Texans came out on Tuesday to make their voices heard on state and local runoff races.

Both Midland and Ector Counties will be voting for David Dewhurst or Ted Cruz for the Texas Senate as well as voting for Texas Railroad Commissioner.

Ector County residents will also be voting for their Precinct One Constable but Tuesday afternoon's number didn't look good.

"Nimitz (Junior High) is always one of our highest polling locations, so 323 at 2:30 p.m. is low," Ector County Elections Administrator, Mitzi Scheible, said. "Normally, we get about 1,500-2,000."

The most visible race in Midland County is for the 238th District Judge between David Lindemood and Elizabeth Leonard, replacing the late and beloved Judge John Hyde.

But the same problem exists.

Historically, voter turnout for Midland County runoff elections has always been low and there have been other factors this summer pushing the election back and putting it in more of a bind.

One of those was many West Texas counties putting forth a lawsuit in 2011, protesting redistricting lines.

"They just kept on the litigation, changing the dates for the primary and if you change the date for the primary, obviously it'll change your run-off date if you have one," Midland County Elections Administrator, Ruth Sloan, said.

Election officials said another reason the numbers are so low is due to confusion about where the polling places are, with many trying to vote inside the Midland County Elections Office.

Still, both counties are confident that the right candidates will be elected as long as enough informed voters turn up.

"Of course it's made a difference because it's just not the norm," Sloan said. "Probably even if we'd had it in April or even early May, probably the results would be the same."

"You're letting other people vote for you and make your decisions when you don't go out and vote," Scheible said.