County preps for primary election


As the March 3 primary elections near closer, the Gonzales County Commissioners Court continues to take steps to prepare for them. The court on Monday, Jan. 27 finalized the county’s list of election judges to work the upcoming elections.

According to County Elections Clerk Christy Horstman, election judges are the administrators of a polling location. They select election clerks to help run the polls and ensure the continued operations of their polling location. Election judges are required to alert the county to their clerk appointees. In January, the court set the pay rate for election judges and clerks at $12 per hour for both early voting and election day. The state will refund the county for workers’ pay on primary election day only.

A total of 28 election judges, 14 from the Democratic and the Republican Party, were selected to administer the primary elections throughout the county. Election judges will serve an eight-month term, expiring Aug. 31.

The Gonzales County Republican and Democratic Party are holding a joint primary election in March, meaning the parties share election equipment, polling locations and a team of election workers comprised of an even number from each party. Voters will have to specify which primary they would like to participate in.

On top of confirming the election judge list, the court also accepted a gift of a DS200 Ballot Box and the accompanying tote bin from Election Systems and Software. The court purchased new voting equipment from Election Systems and Software last year, which included a few back-up machines, but a state rule change forced the county to use its reserve machines full-time.

“The DS200 is the big trash can looking things that the scanner sits in. When we got the order, we got two extra scanners in case there was something wrong we could just switch it out,” Horstman explained. “The state, this last election, changed the way they wanted mail-ins and early voting reported. They want them separate. We used to always have them together. So, we actually have to now use one of our extras.”

Instead of forcing the county to purchase more equipment, the election equipment company offered to replenish the county’s reserves free of charge.

“We had talked to (Election Systems and Software) about purchasing another trash can for it to sit in and the salesman actually didn’t want us to do that after we had spent what we spent with them so they actually gifted us the whole trash can ballot bin so we could use that scanner and we do still have one extra scanner in case something happens,” Horstman said.

March 3 is primary election day and early voting beings Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28. Check out the full list of election judges and polling locations up above.