College Station City Council unanimously amends ordinance for upcoming election

Amendment modifies available polling locations for November’s election
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The College Station City Council voted unanimously Thursday to amend its ordinance for the upcoming November election to modify available polling locations for voters to cast their ballot.

College Station City Secretary Tanya Smith told council at Thursday’s meeting that Christ United Methodist Church told the city it could not participate as a polling place this year due to nearby construction.

“There will be proper signage and a list of other locations to vote posted at Christ United Methodist Church on election day,” Smith said.

It’s not the only change voters will experience on election day. The way voters will cast their ballots is also going to be different.

“You still feed information into a computer. You still respond to a computer,” College Station Mayor Karl Mooney said. “But then you take your print out and you feed that paper in, and a paper record is kept of your votes.”

The amendment comes to the same election ordinance ordering three potential changes to the city charter that will be decided by voters. Two deal with ethics questions. One asks if city council members should be required to disclose any campaign contribution over $500 and abstaining from any matter before council that would benefit the contributor.

The third question asks voters if they want to move city elections from even to odd-numbered years.

“The idea being that during odd-numbered years, the ballot is structured in such a way that city issues come to the forefront,” Mooney said. “The challenge when you have an election in an odd-numbered year is that some folks might not have as great an interest in voting.”

Mooney points out that during even-numbered years, national elections are listed on the ballot first, followed by state races, then city contests at the end.

“Folks that study elections and such would say that some would have ballot fatigue by the time they get down toward the end, and they’re simply checking off the first one or they skip it entirely, which of course, you can do,” Mooney said.

He hopes that if voters do decide to move city elections to odd-numbered years, they’ll be more motivated to turn out for the decisions and races that more directly affect their community.

“We hope because we are looking at charter amendments, and also a change in council members perhaps if the incumbents are not asked to continue, it could mean some significant changes for College Station in the years to come,” Mooney said.

Either way, it’s an important decision facing voters come November 2.

“We’re hoping that the folks who do vote in this upcoming election will have a better understanding of what’s at stake for the council, for the charter amendments, and for just simply how to vote,” Mooney said.

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