Voter registration , redistricting concerns addressed

The state redistricting debacle has not only making an impact on the state's presidential primary this year, but also on the local races.However, with the recent announcement that the Texas presidential primary date has been set for Tuesday, May 29, Kathy Bowen with the Nolan County Tax Office wants to assist voters in the interim while putting some rumors to rest.Recently, calls have been made about voter registration cards in regards to an email that has been circulating. The email states that without an updated registration card, registered citizens cannot vote--which is a false statement. According to an email from the Texas Secretary of State's Election Office: "...Once the court approves interim redistricting maps and counties have the opportunity to finalize precinct lines, the county will issue new voter registration certificates."In addition, the email notes that "the expiration of your old voter registration certificate on 12/31/2011 does not invalidate your voter registration." Voters who have changed their name or residence address (within the same county) will still need to submit their updated information to the county voter registrar. But, if a voter has changed their residence to a new county, he will have to submit a new voter registration application at least 30 days before the election date.But now that state has completed the redistricting process, the county still has to--as necessary--correct and verify the voter registration certificates before they can be mailed out. (Nolan County is currently split among different districts.) With this step completed, potential candidates can now begin to file. Nolan County Clerk Pat McGowan stated that the filing date has been extended to a March 9 deadline ending at 6 p.m. As a result, campaigning efforts can start and early voting can be scheduled, as McGowan announced that early voting will take place from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25 in the county clerk's office. Should a run-off be required after the May 29 election, that date has been set for Tuesday, July 31."We want to let people know that they don't have to panic--they are still registered," stated Nolan County Attorney Lisa Peterson. However, Peterson did note that even with the shortened time between now and the local and state election dates (May 12 has been set for city elections), the involved offices will be working as quickly as possible to prepare and ask for voters' patience during this time.For those who might have destroyed their voter registration card upon its original expiration date, Bowen noted that the Nolan County Tax Office will work through the situation as they would a lost card. In addition, people who are not registered can also still come to do so during this time.