March 19, 2018 351 PM
COUNTY – Some Presidio County GOP voters were dismayed last week when they found they were unable to cast ballots on election day for statewide candidates in the Republican Party primary election.
Primary elections, a Presidio County election official explained, are handled through the county party, with the party chair organizing volunteers and staffing polling places for voters.
The Republican Party, she said, did have ballots for early voting, but no poll was opened on Election Day, March 6. A total 24 Presidio County residents cast ballots in the party’s early voting.
The county, she added, is responsible for holding early voting polls.
The lack of a polling place on Election Day, Presidio County Republican Party Chair Todd Beckett said, came simply to lack of resources.
“I’ve always had a real problem with getting volunteers. I guess no one wants to put their faces out in front of the hateful left,” he told the Big Bend Sentinel/The International. “In this [political] climate, most people are afraid to voice their support for the GOP and Trump, as most civilized people seem to do.”
Beckett also stated that the distance between the county seat and his home in Presidio makes it difficult to conduct polls without volunteers.
“I’m an independent businessman. I’m busy all the time. It’s a two-hour trip to do anything in Marfa. The day-of voting requires major effort from one person. I’ve had people call me up, and I told them if they wanted to take over [the party], they should,” he said.
Local GOP voters, he also stated, have typically voted in Democratic Primary Elections, as candidates for office in the county typically run in the Democratic race.
“Even if I had polls open, most Republicans would vote in the Democratic primary because of local races,” he explained. “Most voters want to vote in the elections that matter most to them.”
However, some Democrats and public school educators wanted to vote in the Republican primary to cast their ballots again Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is seen by educators and weakening the public school system.
Beckett also added that voters had two weeks to vote during the early voting window, but said that The Big Bend Sentinel/
The International failed to publicize the fact and “declined to run ads” he claims to have sent.
Still, Beckett remains optimistic for the future of the Presidio County Republican Party.
“We may have people starting to mobilize for the November election,” he said. “We need Republicans to volunteer.”