Weatherford Democrat

Local News

February 29, 2008

Parker County voters poised to break record

Early voting totals approach 10,000 for first time in recent memory

(Continued)



Most Parker County precincts will be staffed with one election judge from each political party and two volunteer election clerks. A few of the county’s biggest voting precincts have a fifth worker dedicated.

Parten is willing to hire more workers if turnout necessitates them. He said it would be ridiculous to encourage people to turn out, and then not be ready to handle it.

“If you get to the point to where you need extra people, I don’t care if you’ve got five already — you hire them,” he said of his instructions to election judges. “We’re not going to have an election that is detrimental because it’s not staffed properly.”

In the state’s Democratic Party’s primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton is fighting an all-out battle with fellow White House hopeful Barack Obama for the state’s 228 national delegates. Because 67 of those delegates are awarded at precinct conventions — sometimes called caucuses — both candidates are imploring voters to participate after they vote.

“There is considerable interest in the precinct conventions that you don’t normally hear about, based on some of the activity we’ve been hearing, that we don’t normally hear about in an election,” Parten said.

Given the unusually high early voting numbers, election workers say turnout on March 4, election day, is anybody’s guess.

On one hand, this year’s early voting momentum could be a harbinger for election day. On the other hand, if everyone who intends to vote already has, Parker County’s 43 election day poll sites could be quiet this Tuesday.

During a press conference earlier in the week, State Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie told reporters, “I will be shocked and stunned if it is not a new record for Texas.”

The vast majority of Parker County’s early voters cast ballots in the Republican primary. However, numbers in the Democratic are significantly higher, compared to previous elections, according to elections staff.

Parten declined to speculate on whether or not high-profile presidential candidates Clinton and Obama are enticing Republican voters to cross over and vote in the Democratic primary.

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