The country saw a definite surge of excitement and engagement for the 2018 mid-term elections with a record number of (113 million) U.S. voters showing up at the polls. Texas broke records with more than 8.3 million of Texas’ 15.8 million registered voters casting ballots in the Nov. 6 general election, as shown in results posted by the secretary of state. The turnout of almost 53 percent in Texas was recognized widely as the highest in nearly 50 years for a Texas election without presidential candidates on the ballot.
While Atascosa County did not break its 2016 Presidential race total numbers of 13,857, a great turnout was realized. Of the county’s 27,388 registered voters, 12,282 took part in the mid-term elections with early voting totaling 7,094. On Tuesday, 4,489 voters elected to vote in Atascosa County on General Election Day.
More than 7,180 Atascosa County voters decided to take advantage of their last opportunity to vote a straight party ticket. The option of straight-ticket voting, also known as “one punch” ballots, will be gone as of September 1, 2020 right before the next general election under a bill passed by the Texas Legislature last year. There were 4,551 (63 percent) straight party Republican voters to 2,582 straight party Democrat voters (36 percent) with 50 straight party Libertarian voters (.70 percent).
For all opposed candidates, Atascosa County voters helped elect exclusively Republicans on the federal, state and county levels with two exceptions. Orlando Carrasco (D) won Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 by a slight margin with 1,437 votes (50.63 percent) to Roan West’s (R) 1,401 votes (49.37 percent). Henry Cuellar (D) won US Representative, District 28 with 7,130 votes over Arthur Thomas IV’s (L) 2,378 votes. Unopposed candidate for State Representative, District 31, Ryan Guillen (D) kept his incumbent chair with 7,103 votes.
Presiding Judge of the Atascosa County Court at Law, Lynn Ellison (R) won District Judge of the 81st Judicial District by a landslide with 25,983 votes to his opponent Errlinda Castillo (D) 12,387. The 81st Judicial District in which Ellison has worked for 30 years includes Atascosa, Frio, Karnes, La Salle and Wilson counties.
This was the first election where electronic voting was introduced county wide. According to both Elections Administrator Janice Ruple and Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley electronic voting eased the process for such a large turnout.
A huge county wide win was the Annexation voting which were 4,476 for and 2,349 against. Marie Levy, along with a team of “warriors”, organized and galvanized the county to educate individuals on what forced annexation meant. Levy has written a historical recap of what she calls a coup for the Pleasanton Express which will be published in next week’s edition. “Words cannot explain the relief we feel that in four short months we, the residents of Atascosa County, were able to make Texas history and end the century-old practice of unfair taking of our lands into municipalities’ boundaries without our consent,” said Levy. “The ripple effect of this big splash will be felt throughout the county for many years to come, noticeably, saving our agricultural heritage and holding governing bodies more accountable to their constituents.”
For a full list of results of how Atascosa County voted please see page 7A. The data was provided by www.atascosacounty.texas. gov.