New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 16, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas
inicofllm Center Comp* r, 0, Box **5^36 callas, fJexa& 75235Absentee voting high in county, state
From staff and wire reports
Absentee voter turnout here is running three times higher than that in the primaries. In fact, Comal County Clerk’s office workers are ordering extra supplies to handle the steady stream.
“It’s wild is all I can say,” said County Clerk Irene Nuhn. “We’ve already sent out more than 300 ballots.”
Yesterday there were 47 persons who traveled to the courthouse to cast their ballots. Linnell Hinjosa, deputy clerk, said that 86 ballots were mailed Friday, 208 yesterday and another IOO would be sent out today.
Mailouts and personal appearance absentee voting will end Oct. 31, but mail-in ballots will be accepted until 7 p.m. Nov. 4.
To qualify for voting absentee, a registered voter must either have an expected absence, be 65 years or older, physically disabled (with a written doctor’s excuse), religious beliefs, confined in jail or be an election judge or clerk.
Election officials across the state say the deluge of mail-in requests for absentee ballots can only be attributed to increased voter interest in the upcoming presidential election.
“There’s more absentee interest in this election than I’ve ever seen in my 16 years with the county,” said Lorena White, supervisor of absentee voting for Bexar County.
Officials in more than a dozen counties across Texas say more voters are requesting absentee ballots this year than in 1976. In addition, they say voter registration is up.
To many election officials and county agents,
that only means one thing.
“People in Texas are really going to turn out for this election,” said Evelyn Ramsey, Smith County elections administrator in Tyler.
“We’ve had about 500 (mailed in absentee ballot requests) so far, and we’re getting a good many more in every day,” she said.
Mrs. Ramsey said the East Texas county had more than 65,000 registered voters, with another 2,000 late applications that were still being processed.
Many officials feared that the large influx of late registrations not processed by the Oct. 4 deadline would leave the tardy voters out in the cold.
However, Secretary of State George Strake said voters who registered, but have not been processed, can make a sworn statement to the
polling judge that they had their application in before the deadline, and may vote.
In El Paso County, election officials say they are worried that they won’t be able to handle all the mail-in requests for absentee ballots.
“We’ve already received 5,000 requests by-mail for absentee ballots,” said Helen Jamison, county elections chairman. “In 1976, we had a total of 8,845 persons vote absentee.”
Six temporary workers have been added to help with the mountain of requests, she said.
In San Antonio, Bexar County Clerk Robert Green predicts about 33,000 absentee ballots will be cast out of a total 300,000 people he expects will go to the polls.
In Harris County, election officials are expecting about 16,000 mail-out ballots this year, and about 42,000 to 50,000 total absentee voters,
said elections department spokesman Tony Sirvello.
“Certainly, it is up over the last election year. We had a 68 percent turnout in 1976,” Sirvello said. “It could go over that this year. Everyone is interested in the presidential race.”
Nueces County clerk Marion Uehlinger said her office has received the largest number of absentee ballot requests that she has ever seen.
She estimates as many as 5,000 absentee ballots will be cast out of 125,000 registered voters.
“Our absentee requests are up over the past election year, but voter registration is up too,” said Nancy Saunders, Taylor County elections administrator in Abilene. “I think there is a lot of interest in the election.”
See ABSENTEE, Page I2A
* Taylor Communications Inc.
25 cents October 16,1980
Vol. 89-No. 82 26 pages —2 sections (USPS 377-880)
New Braunfels, TexasComfund directors press on
By HENRY KRAUSSE Staff writer
The Comal County Community Fund drive reached its halfway point with 35 percent of its $80,000 goal secured, directors learned at a meeting Wednesday.
A total of $29,276 in pledges had been reported, said board President Jim Cook, adding he wanted the directors to know “where we stand and where we gotta go.”
The news from major employers in the area was encouraging. More companies than ever were allowing their workers to deduct small amounts from their paychecks to benefit the fund, and several firms had already surpassed their total donations from last year.
But Cook pointed out that, with 15 days left to go, the October fund drive had to move into high gear. He turned the meeting into a brainstorming session with two problems in mind—identifying and reaching people in the community who have not yet been contacted.
The Community Fund has a projected budget of $80,000 to provide essential support to 20 public-spirited agencies ranging from the Senior Citizens Center to the Boy Scouts.
“We sit here in the dark, looking down the throat of this $80,000 hole. I get a little queasy thinking about it sometimes.
See COMFUND, Page 12A
Staff photo by John Sentat
Several birds take a break on some utility wires while passing through townWater talk: Districts, cooperatives outlined
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
The World Series may have been on television, but that still didn’t keep a considerable number of people from attending the fourth town meeting on water at Smithson Valley High School last night.
Describing the meeting as an “educational session," Dan Baker, chairman of the Citizen’s Task Force on Water, said the topic would be to present and discuss water cooperatives and districts as possible solutions to a potential
That problem is due to the fact the Glen Rose and Cow Creek water formations, I the underground water supply for Bulverde, Canyon I^ake and Spring Branch) has a limited water supply.
“What we’re trying to understand here tonight is what kind of entity or district we need. Our (the Task Force’s) job is to educate and expose to the public all ideas so that someday we can vote on a solution,” he explained.
The Citizens Task Force, the group which has organized the town meetings, was formed almost two years ago when concerned citizens decided
to investigate the statements that were being made by “what we consider experts” that the Glen Rose and Cow Creek formations had a limited water supply, said Betty Baker, task force vice chairman.
For this reason the task force was formed to investigate the problem, document its findings and look into possible solutions.
“We’re not here to form a water district or coop. We’re here because we have a problem and we need a solution,” she explained. “Most all of us are losers when we have no water. We’re just hoping to gain respect in this county where this problem is involved,” she said.
In opening the meeting, Justice of the Peace Fred Stewart said the limited water problem was one which faced the entire county and not just any one isolated area.
Members of the panel at last night’s meeting then spoke on some of the advantages and disadvantages of both water co-ops and districts.
“We’re facing a problem that is being faced statewide,” Herbert Grubb, of the Texas Department of Water Resources and panel member, said.
“We’ve just been through the long, hot and dry 1980 summer and drought. I hope it’s over, but I’m not sure it is,” he said. If the drought were
to continue and the reservoir and ground water were not restored, “we will face a grim situation” he added.
He then explained to the audience that a “water’s nightmare” would be when there wasn’t enough preparation and storage of water to meet future needs. “The problem is how to get organized so we can have a dependable supply of water.”
Grubb pointed out that ground water that is obtained by wells is the property of the landowner in Texas and can be used as the owner sees fit. However, surface water is the property See WATER, Page 12A
County awaits word on MALDEF injunction
The motion has been filed, and now Comal commissioners are awaiting word from U.S. District Judge William Sessions on what will happen to the injunction currently in force against the county.Inside
Attorney J.C. Reagan, who represents the county in this matter, filed a motion requesting the injunction be lifted. Sought by the Mexican American I^egal Defense and Educational Fund, that injunction has
temporarily halted elections in commissioner precincts I and 3 because of populations imbalances.
A new redistricting plan correcting these imbalances was approved last month by the U.S. Department of Justice, apparently clearing the way for the election.
Reagan said he would contact Judge Sessions’ office today to arrange for a setting for a hearing on the injunction.
Reagan met with Comal commissioners on the status of the injunction and on a proposed settlement for about 45 minutes in executive session yesterday afternoon.
After the closed-door meeting, Judge Max Woinmack issued a statement saying, “Because it is still in the
negotiating stage, it is best that we don’t go into any details of the proposed settlement.
“But if any approved agreement is reach, we will immediately make it known,” he added.
MALDEF, which represents a group of local citizens, sought the injunction after charging the population imbalances (according to the 1970 census) violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s one-man, one-vote ruling issued in 1968.
The injunction has delayed one contested race so far—the Republican primary race for commissioner Pct. I between Tom Edwards and W.W. Amacher. General election contest in Pets. I and 3 will also be delayed, and the filing period for these races may be reopened once the injunction is lifted.
306 extension opens Friday
The extension of FM 306, described as the “missing link” in the system of farm roads around Canyon I^ake, will be open for traffic Friday afternoon.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies will be held at 4 p.m. Friday to mark the opening of the 7.3-mile extension, which has been under construction since mid-1979.
Ceremonies will be held at the intersection of FM 306 and Cranes Mill Road.
Striping and cleanup work were the only tasks as yet undone, and
both would be completed prior to the opening, Bob Hasert, resident engineer with the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation, said.
The extension extends from the dead end at Cranes Mill Road to U.S. 281 just south of the Comal-Blanco County line. During a public hearing on the project in 1977, department district engineer Ray Stotzer estimated the new road would save over one million commuter miles per year.