On Monday, September 24, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade dropped in on Blanco County officials in Johnson City. “We want to thank locals for the outstanding work you do during the voting process,” said Secretary Andrade. “The more I meet with you people throughout the State, the more I appreciate what you do. Before I made these visits I didn’t fully realize what it takes to set up, prepare for and to carry out the voting process.”
The meeting was held in the Conference Room of Blanco County Clerk Karen Newman at the Blanco County Annex. It was attended by Karen Newman; County Judge Bill Guthrie; County Tax Assessor/Collector and Voter Registrar Hollis Boatright; Mary Kresta, Chief Deputy Clerk Tax Assessor/Collector; and Susie Kneese, Deputy Voter Registrar for Blanco County.
“We’re trying to reach everyone in the State with the message that no one has an excuse to not vote. To accomplish that mission we’re reaching out to our local election partners to help us tell everyone that by voting, you make a mark on Texas.
“I promote Texas throughout the world,” said the San Antonio native. “I want to bust myths about the voting process in this State. We do that by using all the appropriate modes of communication including having a website (votetexas.gov), as well as using such resources as Face book and Twitter. We want to be found where the people go so that we can reach everyone.
“It is very important that the voters know that for this election no picture I.D. will be required in order to vote due to the fact that the legality of the Texas Voter I.D. Law is under review in the courts,” she said.
She emphasized that the general election will take place on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The deadline to register to vote in that election is October 9. Early voting will take place from October 22 to November 2. Karen Newman indicated that there will be only one precinct for early voting and that it will take place in the Blanco County Annex at 101 East Cypress Street in Johnson City. “Being unable to vote on November 6 is no excuse for failing to vote,” said the Secretary of State.
At the website, votetexas.gov, voters can find information in both English and Spanish on how to register to vote; the who, what, when and how of voting; military and overseas voting; voters with special needs; your rights as a voter; and voting facts and resources.
Potential voters will find answers to such questions as, “I can’t find my voter registration card. What do I do?” and “Where do I go to vote?” “Who is eligible to vote early?” and “What kind of identification do I need?”
The website provides information on candidates, political parties, candidate contact information, important 2012 election dates, and there are sample ballots. The website is a one-stop resource for voter information.
Secretary Andrade praised the efforts of recently appointed Texas Election Division Director, Keith Ingram. “Since he came on board he has done a fabulous job. He has a great attitude. Because he is an attorney he has quickly grasped the finer points of election law—and besides that, he sings!”
Judge Guthrie told an anecdote about his grandfather who was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. “The first time I ran as a candidate for public office, I did so as a Republican,” said the Judge. “Even though my grandfather loved me dearly he lamented that he could not, in good conscience, vote for me. ‘I will NOT have my voter registration card stamped ‘Republican!’ he insisted. I suggested that he go ahead and vote for me and then conveniently ‘lose’ his voter registration card with the Republican stamp on it. The replacement card would not be stamped. He reluctantly took my suggestion and after he voted for me, he threw away the card and got a replacement.”
“In my position,” said Secretary Andrade, “I am totally non-partisan. Some folks get upset with me when I won’t tell them which candidate to vote for. I do not get involved. In my own county ‘I just don’t know.’ I want you to be informed but I will not tell you how to vote,” she declared.
“On voting day,” said Secretary Andrade, “my workday starts at 7:01 p.m. Phones will be ringing through the night and problems will need solving. Every election is memorable. We start with a prayer, followed by dinner and then we take our stations.” This will be Secretary Andrade’s fifth general election. As Texas Secretary of State under Governor Rick Perry she has the fourth longest service of anybody in that capacity.
Karen Newman commented that her attitude would improve greatly on November 7, the day AFTER the voting. “That’s because you are a responsible person,” said the Secretary of State. “I’m not worried about the glitches because I have met all of you and I know you can do the job. If a precinct is late reporting, I don’t worry about it because I know you, and you and your team do a superb job!”
“We all come together to make things happen,” said Judge Guthrie. “If there’s a problem, we come together to solve it.”
Secretary Andrade was accompanied by Deputy Communications Director Alicia Pierce, and Amy Whitmore, Executive Aide.
County Clerk Karen Newman expressed her appreciation for the visit. “When my aide answered the phone and told me that Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade was on the line, my only thought was, ‘Oh, what have I done wrong!’” Secretary Andrade responded with a smile, saying, “Yes. When I called there was a rather long pause.”