Early voting turnout for the March 3 Primaries have been sluggish, so far, with only 2 percent of Harrison County’s more than 44,000 registered voters casting ballots.

“The amendment election (this past November) surprised us with a double turnout of what expected,” said Elections Administrator Donald Robinette.

“I figured this election would also be the same,” he said. “Maybe, so far, the weather is keeping people from coming out in mass.”

The elections office encourages voters to take advantage of early voting opportunities.

The first day of early voting saw 104 voters in the Democratic Primary and 402 in the Republican Primary.

After two days, as of Wednesday, a total of 156 had voted in the Democratic Primary; 765 had voted in the Republican Primary, for a total of 921 check-ins.

Thus, “we have reached 2 percent turnout, with a total of 921 check-ins,” noted Robinette.

Of those numbers, 525 votes were made at the main elections office in Marshall; 75 were cast at the Waskom polling site; 38 at the Harleton site; 142 at Hallsville Gold Hall; 54 at Woodland Hills Baptist Church on the Harrison County side of Longview; 43 at Emergency Services District No. 9 in Elysian Fields; 19 at Wiley College polling site; and 25 at T.J. Taylor Community Center in Karnack.

Early voting for the March 3 Primaries kicked off Tuesday, Feb. 18, and ends Friday, Feb. 28, with one weekend option.

Eight early voting branch polling locations have been approved.

According to the schedule, early voting will be Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 24-28 at the following branch locations: Waskom Sub-courthouse, Harleton Community Center, Gold Hall Community Center, Woodland Hills Baptist Church, Emergency Services District #9 in Elysian Fields, now Wiley College Pemberton Complex, T.J. Taylor Community Center, and the Main Elections Office.

Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.

The main elections office, located at 415 E. Burleson St., will also be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22; and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.

A photo ID is required to vote.

Acceptable forms of photo ID, according to the Secretary of State’s Office are:

Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS

Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS

Texas Handgun License issued by DPS

United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph

United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph

United States Passport (book or card)

COUNTY RACES

For the Republican Party Primary, there are two contested races for county seats. Pct. 1 Harrison County Commissioner William Hatfield is being challenged by local business owner, Robert Bryan, who is also a former Department Public Safety trooper.

Pct. 3 County Commissioner Phillip Mauldin will face local educator, Rodney Blackwell.

Incumbents who are uncontested are: Tax Assessor Collector Veronica King, Pct. 1 Constable John Hickey Sr., Pct. 4 Constable Darryl Griffin, Pct. 4 JP Nancy George, 71st Judicial District Judge Brad Morin, and Pct. 3 Constable Jim Weatherall.

Republican B.J. Fletcher and Democrat George Gill will face off for the sheriff’s seat in the November General Election.

Gill is a longtime Marshall Police Department officer. Fletcher is currently the chief deputy at Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Brant Moore is uncontested on the Democratic ballot.

STATE

In the state races, State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, will run for re-election against Mark Williams, a Panola County rancher, for the State Representative District 9 seat in the Republican primary. No one filed for that position in the Democratic primary.

Audrey Spanko, from Mineola, filed to run in the Democratic primary for State Senate District 1, which is currently held by Sen. Bryan Hughes. Hughes filed to run again for his seat in the Republican primary. Spanko and Hughes will face off in the general election in November 2020.

FEDERAL

The race for the U.S. Senate Texas seat has contenders in both the Democratic and Republican Party Primaries, who are vying for the nomination.

The seat is currently held by Republican John Cornyn, who is running for reelection. In the Republican Party Primary, the incumbent will face Virgil Bierschwale, a software developer, of Junction; John Anthony Castro, a tax attorney from Dallas; business owner Dwayne Stovall; and Mark Yancey, Chairman and CEO of Attacca International in Dallas.

Candidates in the Democratic Party Primary are: Sema Hernandez, an activist in Pasadena; Chris Bell, a former Congressman and lawyer out of Houston; Royce West, a State Senator and attorney out of Dallas; attorney and former Houston council member Amanda Edwards; former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar of Round Rock; activist Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez of Austin; Chris Bell, a Houston lawyer; Michael Cooper, a pastor and psychologist from Beaumont; Jack Daniel Foster Jr., a teacher from Baytown; Annie Garcia, a Houston attorney; Victor Hugo Harris, a military cyber operations professional from Harligen; Mary Hegar, of Round Rock; D.R. Hunter, a retiree from Amarillo; Adrian Ocegueda, of Flower Mound; and Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, a Dallas attorney.