An estimated 2,600 county voters cast ballots Tuesday in the first day of early voting in the Nov. 3 election, which is already a record-breaker as far as registered county voters.
“In 2018, we hit 37,000,” County Elections Administrator Todd Stallings said. “In 2020, we went over 38,000. I thought we would make it to 39,000 but we were a few hundred short. I imagine in 2022 we will grow too 39,000 or 40,000.”
The Courthouse Annex is far and away the busiest location, with more than 1,580 opting to cast a ballot there, according to totals from the elections office.
Stephen F Austin State University’s Student Center was the second busiest polling location, with 460 voters. Sacred Heart Catholic Church is the least populated early voting location within the city limits, drawing 193 throughout the day on Tuesday. The small turnout at the church could be due in part to church officials asking voters to come later in the day to avoid traffic congestion caused by food distribution at the Sacred Heart Food Pantry.
"Since we also have our food pantry distribution," the church said in a social media post, "it might be helpful to wait until after lunch if you plan to vote tomorrow. Otherwise, they will be here for the next couple weeks in the gym."
Woden ISD, Cushing and Garrison locations each drew between 70 and 80 voters Tuesday, while 55 voters went to the Chireno Community Center.
At the Courthouse Annex, another 69 people either voted curbside or canceled mail ballots, according to Stallings.
About 100 mail ballots are coming in each day, he said. More than 2,660 were sent out and about 1,388 have come back as of Tuesday night, he said. But applications for mail ballots are still coming in. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is Oct. 23. Applications are available at nacvotes.com or by calling 936-560-7825.
In addition to a the presidential race between incumbent Republican Donald J. Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are several federal, state and local elections. On the county level, Republican Jeff Davis, the Nacogdoches city attorney, and Democrat Noel Cooper, an attorney in private practice, are vying to replace retiring State District Judge Campbell Cox, who has been on the bench since 2001.
Some ballots will include races postponed from May due to the pandemic. Appleby voters will decide if businesses within the city may sell alcoholic beverages, while Garrison residents will decide two city council positions and five school board races.
Straight party voting has been eliminated, so voters need to mark their preferred candidate in each contest, and ballots will have contests on both the front and back. More information is available at NacVotes.com.
Early voting continues this week at the Courthouse Annex, 203 W. Main St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through this Friday. The Annex will also be open this weekend from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The other locations are open on weekdays only through Oct. 30. Hours are:
- Chireno Community Center, 715 Main St., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Cushing ISD, 1088 W. Bearkat Drive, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Garrison City Office, 330 S B Ave., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2508 Appleby Sand Road, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- SFA Student Center Commons Room, third floor, 222 Vista Drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Woden ISD, 5263 FM 226, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.