February 18, 2008

Primary Voting in Texas from State Representative Allen Vaught

As you all know election season is right around the corner. In fact, the Texas Primary on March 4th is quickly approaching. This is a good time to review information relevant to voting, such as how to register, early voting procedures, and how to vote by mail.

The first step of the voting process is registration. If you are not registered to vote, you may visit my website at http://www.allenvaught.com and click on the “register to vote” link. If you are not sure if you are registered, you may call the Dallas County Elections Department at (214) 819-6300 for verification. Unfortunately, if you did not register by February 4th, 2008, you will be ineligible to vote in the March primary; however you will be able to vote in any election 30 days after you register. So, if you are not registered to vote, now is a good time to get registered so that you do not miss the November 2008 election.

Primaries and party affiliation
Voters do not register by party in Texas. Once you are registered to vote, you will simply choose your party of interest at the polling location and vote in that party's primary on Election Day. When you go to the polls, inform the election clerk which party’s primary you wish to vote in, and they will direct you to the proper table to receive your ballot.

As a voter, you become “affiliated” with a party by voting in a party’s primary, with the affiliation lasting for that primary year. For example, if you voted in the March 2006 primary or the April 2006 primary runoff, you would be considered affiliated with that party until December 31st, 2006, when the affiliation expired. The affiliation means that you may not vote or participate in another party’s primary, primary runoff, or convention that year. Note that in the general election in November, you may vote for whomever you wish regardless of which party’s primary you chose.

Early Voting
Early voting is simple and can save time, since the lines are typically not as long as they are on Election Day. You may vote early at any early voting location in the entire county; whereas, on Election Day, you must vote in your precinct’s specific voting location. Also, in Dallas County, electronic machines are used during the early voting period, while paper ballots are used on Election Day.

There are four locations in or near Texas House District 107 where early voting for the Texas Primary will take place. They are the Dallas First Assembly of God at 11000 E. Northwest Hwy; Harry Stone Recreation Center at 2403 Millmar Drive; Samuell Grand Recreation Center at 6200 E Grand Avenue; and the Garland City Hall at 200 N. 5th Street in Garland.

The dates and times for early voting are: Tuesday through Friday, February 19 – 22 from 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday, February 23 from 7 am to 7 pm; Sunday, February 24 from 1 pm to 6 pm; and Monday through Friday, February 25 – 29 from 7 am to 7 pm. Election Day is Tuesday, March 4th and the polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm.

What to take to the Voting Booth
Whether voting early or on Election Day, remember to take either your drivers license or your new “light orange” Voter Registration Certificate. You should have received this certificate in the mail in late 2007. If you do not have either one of these, you may use another form of identification such as a photo ID, passport, birth certificate, citizenship papers, or other official documents. Know that when voting without a Voter Registration Certificate or appropriate ID, you may have to sign an affidavit or fill out a provisional ballot.

If you would like to know what is going to be on the ballot, sample ballots are available to view on the Dallas County Election’s website at http://www.dalcoelections.org/ and are sometimes published in the newspaper prior to elections. You are permitted to take a sample ballot or other written material into the voting booth to assist you while voting.

Special Accommodations
If you have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, the election official will bring your ballot to your car. State and federal laws also mandate that every voting location be accessible to voters with disabilities.

If you are unable to vote in person during early voting or on Election Day, you may have the option to vote by mail. To vote by mail, you must be 65 years of age or older on Election Day, have a disability, or will be outside the county during the voting period. The deadline to request an application for a ballot by mail is February 26th. You may obtain an application from the early voting clerk in Dallas County by calling (214) 819-6300. You may also visit the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/earlyvoting.shtml or call toll-free 1-800-252-VOTE (8683) to get an application. Your completed ballot must be received by 7:00 pm on March 4th to be counted.

I hope this information not only helps to eliminate any confusion that you may have about voting in the Texas Primary, but makes the process easier as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my district office at 214-370-8305. Remember, voting is the cornerstone of our democracy.

Source: Texas Secretary of State

February 17, 2008

Calloway's Timely Tips for March

Calloway’s Timely Tip for March
Lawn Care in March
• Plant grass sod now but wait until May to plant seed.
• Fertilize your lawns towards the end of the month with a complete
fertilizer such as Calloway’s Premium Lawn Fertilizer 21-5-10 or
Calloway’s Organic Fertilizer 6-2-4.
• Apply preemergents early this month to prevent weed and grass seeds
from germinating-Green Light Crabgrass Preventer for grassy weeds
and Green Light Portrait for broadleaf weeds.
• Apply a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer such as Green Light’s
Wipe-Out to kill existing dandelions, henbit, and chickweed. Apply
when daytime temperature is above 70 degrees.
• Check your automatic sprinkler system for leaks and broken pipes or
• Tune up the lawnmower and have the blade sharpened, if needed.