With Election Day coming up Tuesday, early voting ended across the state Friday, and Amarillo area early voting totals were down from the 2018 midterm terms in both Potter and Randall counties.
Potter County election officials reported 12,234 votes cast during the early voting process, compared to 13,892 cast in the 2018 election. These vote totals represent a 12% drop in early voting from the 2018 midterm. Potter County had received 1,313 mail-in ballots out of the 1,622 that were requested.
Randall County, which did not include the last day of voting at the time of this article, saw early voting drop from 33,085 to its current number of about 25,866. While still waiting on data from the final day of voting, which is usually the busiest day of voting, the numbers are still expected to be about 13 to 15% lower than the 2018 midterms unless record numbers voted on the last day of early voting. As of Thursday evening, Randall County had received 2,395 of 2,860 requested mail-in ballots.
Statewide, the gubernatorial race between incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke has been front and center as the most expensive governor’s race in history, with more than $20 million spent between both parties. While Abbott leads in the polls, the margin is single digits. O’Rourke has done five election events in Amarillo since he was announced, and Abbott recently had a rally in Amarillo during the early voting period.
Other statewide races up for election include:
- Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick (R) vs. Mike Collier (D)
- Attorney General: Ken Paxton (R) vs. Rochelle Garcia (D)
- Comptroller of Public Accounts: Glenn Hegar (R) vs. Janet Dudding (D)
- Commissioner of General Land Office: Dawn Buckingham (R) vs. Jay Kleberg (D)
- Commissioner of Agriculture: Sid Miller (R) vs. Susan Hays (D)
- Railroad Commissioner: Wayne Christian (R) vs. Luke Warford (D)
The House of Representatives District 13 race is on the ballot, with incumbent Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, facing Wichita Falls Lawyer Kathleen Brown. Both candidates vehemently disagree on abortion, with Jackson opposing abortion withouts and Brown wanting the previous exceptions under Roe vs. Wade and Casey versus Planned Parenthood to be codified.
Jackson has made much of his campaign about the rise in inflation, blaming it on the current administration, while Brown admits it’s an issue but a global issue affecting the world.
In local races, Potter County Commissioner Precinct Two is up for election featuring Robert Ruiz (D), who is trying to make his interim spot against challenger Blair Schaeffer (R), a firefighter from Amarillo. With the only commissioner race on the ballot, the precinct has seen the lowest voting totals citywide, with only 550 votes cast at the precinct’s polling location.
Also in the precinct, Republican candidate Robert Taylor is running against Democratic nominee Claudia Griego for the open Potter County Justice of the Peace position due to Judge Richard Herman retiring.
Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner, who won 66% of the votes in the May primary, faces a write-in candidate endorsed by the Potter County Republican Party. Although she easily won the primary for the Republican Party, some within the area are upset that she installed Robert Ruiz, a Democrat, to replace a fellow Democrat, Mercy Murguia, who had won multiple elections in almost her decade in the position.
State Representative for the 87th District, Four Price, is seeking his sixth term in the position, facing Libertarian Candidate Nick Hearn on the Potter County ballot.
Voters in both counties seem pleased with the new voting system that tracks votes on a printed-out paper where voters can see all the votes they cast before it is inserted into a scanner to verify and account for them, while many are still for strictly calling paper ballots, such as Potter County Republican Party Chairman Dan Rogers, who still feels that the system, while better, is ripe with the opportunity for fraud and is not reliable.
“We want a system where the voters can be confident that their vote is properly counted,” Rogers said.
While there have been some issues with the new system being implemented, Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley assured voters that votes are being tabulated correctly and the systems in place work and have backups if there are any issues, such as a human error that gave an erroneous printout.
Addressing the issue, Huntley said that the vote was exactly what voters hit on their screen and was counted just as they were supposed to.
“So the vote is exactly as the voter voted it on screen. We were able to satisfy the attorneys at Texas Secretary of State,” Huntley said. “They totally agree that we are just fine, and everybody that voted last week, their votes counted as they were supposed to.”
Where and when to vote Election Day
Polls are open 7 am to 7p.m. Tuesday at all voting locations.
Potter County election day voting locations:
Bushland Fire Station #1, 17600 Indian Hill Road, bushland Texas
Casey Carpet One, 3500 I-40 West Frontage Road
Chaparral Hills Church, 4000 W. Cherry Street
Cornerstone Outreach, 1111 N. Buchanan Str
Diversity Church, 5631 Pavilard Street
Highland Park ISD Administration Building, 15300 E Amarillo Blvd.
Kids Inc. 2201 Se 27th Street
NW Branch Public Library, 6100 SW 9th Street
Pride Home Center, 3503 NE 24th Street
Santa Fe Building, 900 S. Polk Street
Tri-State Fairgrounds, Commercial Exhibit Hall,3301 SE 10th Street
Trinity Baptist Church 1601, I-40 West
United Citizens Forum 901, N Hayden Street
Valle de Oro Fire Station 23801 RM 1061
Wesley Community Center, 1615 S. Roberts Street.
Randall County voting locations in Amarillo:
Arden Road Baptist, 6701 Arden Road
Central Baptist Church 1601 SW 58th Street
Comanche Trail Church of Christ, 2700 E. 34th Street
Coulter Road Baptist Church, 4108 S. Coulter Street
Journey Church, 9711 FM 2186
Oasis Southwest Baptist Church, 8201 Canyon Drive
Randall County Annex 4320 S. Western Street
Redeemer Christian Church, 3701 S. Souncy Street
Southwest Church of Christ, 4515 Cornell Street
The Cowboy Church, 8827 S. Washington Street
Randall County voting locations in Canyon:
Randall County Justice Center, 2309 Canyon, Texas
The Summit 2008, 12th Avenue