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Williamson County Election News

Georgetown council candidates both seeking office for first time

Georgetown council candidates both seeking office for first time

A software project manager and an educational consultant, both seeking office for the first time, are running against each other for a seat on the Georgetown City Council. David Sray is facing off against Valerie Nicholson for the District 2 seat left vacant by Keith Brainard, who decided not to run for re-election. Nicholson, a 39-year-old education technology consultant for grades K-12 and the co-owner...
Two Cedar Park council members face election challengers

Two Cedar Park council members face election challengers

The owner of a swim coaching business and a registered nurse are running against two incumbents for positions on the Cedar Park City Council. Jon Lux and Lyle Grimes said they are running for re-election to keep working on projects that are contributing to the city’s success. Heather Jefts, who is running against Lux for the Place 5 seat, and Anne Duffy, who is challenging Grimes for the Place...
Small-business owner challenges two-term City Council incumbent

Small-business owner challenges two-term City Council incumbent

Georgetown City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe is running again for her Place 6 seat against political newcomer Lawrence Romero, a small-business owner and real estate agent. Jonrowe, 40, is seeking her third three-year term. She said she wants to push for the city to be more inclusive by having more affordable housing, listening to the concerns of African-American and Hispanic residents, and connecting...
Georgetown mayor’s race pits incumbent against social activist

Georgetown mayor’s race pits incumbent against social activist

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross is running for re-election in May against political newcomer Dr. Sherwin Kahn, a retired chiropractor and social activist. Ross is running on his track record as mayor of a town that was the fastest-growing city of its size in the country last year. Kahn said Georgetown has much more room for improvement in race relations and reaching out to the underprivileged. Ross, who...
Jarrell school district puts $54 million bond package on May ballot

Jarrell school district puts $54 million bond package on May ballot

Jarrell school district Superintendent Bill Chapman said he often checks out how many homes are under construction in the area to estimate how many new students to expect. The district has grown by more than 500 students over the past five years, he said, and currently has 1,540 students. The district is asking voters to approve $54 million in bonds on May 6 because that sharp growth is expected to...
Georgetown mayor, council member face opponents in May election

Georgetown mayor, council member face opponents in May election

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and City Council Member Rachael Jonrowe both face opponents in the May 6 election. Two people are also running for Georgetown City Council Member Keith Brainard’s seat since he decided not to seek reelection. The filing period for the May election ended at 5 p.m. Friday. Ross, who has served one three-year term as mayor, is seeking re-election against Dr. Sherwin Kahn...
By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

By the numbers: Tuesday’s runoff elections in Central Texas

Tuesday is election day for a handful of runoffs from last month’s general election. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the runoffs in Central Texas: 5 — Percent turnout expected in Travis County, compared with 65 percent turnout for the November general election. 3 — Seats that will be decided on the San Marcos City Council: mayor (Ruben Becerra vs. John Thomaides) and two City...
What you need to know as early voting begins in the Dec. 13 runoffs

What you need to know as early voting begins in the Dec. 13 runoffs

We haven’t seen the last of the 2016 elections. Early voting begins Thursday and runs through Dec. 9 for the Dec. 13 runoff, featuring several local races in which no one won a majority of the vote Nov. 8. What you need to know about the year’s final election: What’s on the ballot: Most Central Texas voters get to pick two board members for Austin Community College: Michael J. Lewis...
Critics: Proposed voting centers for Georgetown are too remote for many

Critics: Proposed voting centers for Georgetown are too remote for many

The voting centers Williamson County officials have proposed for Georgetown do not include locations in the southwest, south or downtown areas of the city where elderly or low-income residents already have trouble getting to the polls, said MaryEllen Kersch, a former Georgetown mayor. Kersch suggested adding locations for voting centers in Georgetown. “We should open up the courthouse,&rdquo...

Williamson County switches to voting centers for May, November

Williamson County will scrap precinct-specific voting locations in May and November to become the second Central Texas county to switch to voting centers, which allow voters to cast ballots anywhere in the county. The Commissioners Court approved using the centers in the next two elections after an hour-long public hearing Tuesday where a handful of residents raised concerns over accessibility, the...
Judge orders new election in Jarrell school board race

Judge orders new election in Jarrell school board race

A judge Tuesday ordered the Jarrell school district to hold a new election for a race that a school board candidate lost by three votes in November. The losing candidate, Rusty Bryson, filed a lawsuit in December asking a judge to order a new election. The lawsuit alleged election judges gave the wrong ballots to as many as 200 people, preventing them from voting. The new school board race will be...

Firefighters’ push puts civil service rules on Leander ballot

Firefighters won a major battle this week in their push for new employment protections they say are necessary as Leander continues to see explosive growth. Despite unanimously opposing the proposed civil service rules for the fire and police departments, the City Council was forced Thursday to put them on May’s ballot. City officials have said the rules — which establish hiring, firing...

Council candidates differ on approach to development

Georgetown City Council Member Tommy Gonzalez and retired stockbroker Brenda Baxter, who is running against him in the upcoming May elections, disagree about how to attract development to town. Baxter, 68, said the city is making too many concessions to attract businesses, and cites the city’s development agreement with a proposed H-E-B supermarket on FM 1460. “We are doing special favors...
Challenger in school board race targets pay-later bonds

Challenger in school board race targets pay-later bonds

The Leander school district’s use of a controversial pay-later method of borrowing to accommodate its explosive growth has become a key issue in the district’s lone school board race. Jim MacKay, challenging school board President Pam Waggoner for the Place 3 seat, says the district needs to get its debt — $1.3 billion in outstanding bonds — under control. “We’re...
Taylor City Council candidate questions opponent’s residency eligibility

Taylor City Council candidate questions opponent’s residency eligibility

Five candidates are running for two spots on the Taylor City Council, and one incumbent City Council member, Chris Osborn, has to decide whether to sue his opponent before the May 11 election. Osborn, who has served one term as the Taylor District 4 council member, said that based on tax records, his opponent, Scott Green, does not live within District 4. Green is legally required to live within the...
Taylor council member sues to have opponent removed from ballot

Taylor council member sues to have opponent removed from ballot

A Taylor city council member has sued to get the name of his opponent off the May 11 ballot. District 4 candidate Scott Green does not live in the district, which violates residency requirements, according to the lawsuit Council Member Chris Osborn filed Thursday at Texas Third Court of Appeals. Candidates are required to live for six months in the district they are running in prior to filing for...

Attracting businesses to Leander among the issues in City Council election

Attracting businesses to Leander while improving quality of life through measures such as expanded sidewalks and balanced water rates are among the priorities candidates for the City Council say they would like to tackle if elected in May. Places 1, 3, and 5 are up for grabs, though Place 5 candidate Jason Dishongh is unopposed in his bid for a second term. Early voting starts Monday, and Election...

Contentious civil service item on Leander ballot

Voters in Leander are being asked to decide whether the Fire Department should adopt civil service rules that would regulate hiring, firing, promotions and discipline. The upcoming vote, which has caused tension between city leaders and the department, will be a test for a fast-growing city that leans politically conservative and for a formerly all-volunteer group that is grappling with its transformation...
After court denies request to decide election lineup, Taylor council member asks city clerk to take opponent off ballot

After court denies request to decide election lineup, Taylor council member asks city clerk to take opponent off ballot

The Texas Third Court of Appeals has denied Taylor City Council Member Chris Osborn’s request to have his opponent’s name scratched from the May 11 ballot based on residency issues. According to an opinion issued Tuesday, Osborn did not follow the right legal procedure for proving that his opponent, Scott Green, was ineligible to run for office. Osborn now has asked the Taylor city clerk...

Taylor city clerk denies request to remove candidate from ballot

The Taylor city clerk has denied a city councilman’s request to remove his opponent’s name from the ballot. In a letter to councilman Chris Osborn, City Clerk Susan Brock says his request was submitted too late. According to election laws a candidate may be declared ineligible before early voting, but Osborn made his request to have Scott Green’s name removed from the ballot after...

Ethics complaints filed in days before Leander civil service referendum

Finger-pointing has entered the debate over bringing civil service to Leander, with a supporter of the proposal filing ethics complaints against a key representative of the other side. Former Leander firefighter Braden Frame said he has filed three complaints with the Texas Ethics Commission against Council Member Jason Dishongh, accusing him of violating election laws in his role as treasurer for...

Leander ISD president Waggoner wins-re-election

School board President Pam Waggoner has won re-election, defeating Jim MacKay, 1,711 to 1,441, according to final but unofficial results. With early votes counted, Pam Waggoner led over challenger Jim MacKay in the race for Place 3. Polls have closed in Leander, where board of trustees President Pam Waggoner was seeking re-election in Place 3 against Jim MacKay. Trustees Grace Barber-Jordan and Russell...

Voters in Leander reject civil service; incumbents keep council seats

Voters in Leander strongly rejected civil service for firefighters, while keeping two City Council members in their seats. Whether to allow civil service for firefighters has been a contentious question in Leander. Civil service, among other rules, gives firefighters the right to appeal disciplinary decisions and air complaints to a three-person commission appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the...

Taylor council candidates face runoff, court challenge

Two candidates for Taylor City Council will face off in a runoff, while two others could head to court. Neither council incumbent Don Hill nor challenger Tom Mowdy got a majority of the vote in Saturday’s election. State law requires a run-off when the winning candidate does not receive the majority of the votes in city offices that have 3- and 4-year terms. Hill received 82 votes, Mowdy won...
Taylor council member defeated in election loses appeal

Taylor council member defeated in election loses appeal

Taylor Council Member-elect Scott Green no longer faces a court challenge to his May 11 election victory. The Third Court of Appeals turned down the second request this week of incumbent Chris Osborn to declare Green ineligible to run for office based on residency. Osborn made his request too late under the Texas Election Code because early voting was already underway and Green’s name was already...
Controversial Williamson County elections administrator leaves for Georgia job

Controversial Williamson County elections administrator leaves for Georgia job

Williamson County Election Administrator Rick Barron, who survived a no-confidence vote earlier this year, submitted his resignation Wednesday. He has announced he has been hired to take over as election administrator for Fulton County, Ga., next month. Speaking via cell phone from Georgia, Barron said his last day in Williamson County will be June 7. His first day in Atlanta is to be June 19. Barron...

Taylor voters to choose District 1 City Council member in Saturday run-off

The voters of Taylor’s District 1 will head back to the polls Saturday to determine who will represent them on the City Council. Incumbent Don Hill, who has served on the council since 1986, is seeking re-election, while retired businessman, Tom Mowdy hopes to bring new leadership. Hill, Mowdy and elementary school teacher Larry Pelchat, faced off in the May 11 election. Of 178 votes cast, Hill...

Hill beats Mowdy in runoff for Taylor City Council

Incumbent Don Hill beat political newcomer Tom Mowdy by eight votes in Saturday’s runoff elections and will serve his ninth straight term on Taylor’s City Council, according to unofficial voting results. Hill, 75, who has served on the council since 1986, was facing Mowdy, 66, for the District 1 seat. Hill garnered 154 votes, 50.8 percent of the votes cast, and retired businessman Mowdy...
Williamson County’s new elections official a familiar face

Williamson County’s new elections official a familiar face

Williamson County’s new elections administrator has got a headstart because he’s already familiar with the county’s staff and how the voting machines work. Jason Barnett, 38, has worked for the companies that sold voting equipment to the county, including VOTEC and Elections Systems & Software. Barnett most recently worked as the deputy elections administrator at the Denton County...
Williamson County seeks voter approval for road, parks projects

Williamson County seeks voter approval for road, parks projects

Expanded thoroughfares, more hiking trails and an exposition center could all come to Williamson County if voters are willing to foot the $315 million bill. About 60 proposed projects hinge on the Nov. 5 election, when voters will decide whether the county can sell bonds to pay for roads and parks upgrades. The county can repay the borrowed money without raising the tax rate — currently 17 cents...

Ex-constable candidate announces bid for justice of the peace

A sheriff’s deputy who sued Williamson County commissioners for allegedly asking job candidates about their views on politics, religion, abortion and gay marriage has announced he will run for office in 2014. Robert Lloyd, who was interviewed in March for the constable position in Precinct 3, is now aiming to unseat the commissioners’ chosen justice of the peace in that same jurisdiction...
Next Georgetown council member could cast key vote on commuter rail

Next Georgetown council member could cast key vote on commuter rail

The winner of a vacant Georgetown City Council seat next month could play a key role in determining whether the city remains a stop on a proposed commuter railroad. The issue has been a divisive one for the council, which backed out of the Lone Star Rail District in June, then reached a 3-3 stalemate on returning in September. With the District 2 seat vacant, there was no seventh vote to decide the...

Design firms funding campaign for Williamson County bonds

The main donors to a political action committee lobbying for two Williamson County bond measures are local firms that have won agreements, worth roughly $46.7 million in total, to work on projects paid for by past bond elections. It’s typical for the bulk of donations to come from such companies, said multiple experts who have worked on bond elections in Texas, but the practice has raised some...

Cities would help pay for Williamson bond projects

If the $315 million Williamson County bond package passes, cities will shell out millions more, some coming from taxpayers’ pockets, to help complete many of the proposed projects. On the Nov. 5 ballot, there’s $275 million for more than 50 proposed road improvements and $40 million for several proposed park and trail upgrades, but the actual cost of completing all of those projects is...

Round Rock voters courted by city, county bond projects

A lot is being asked of Round Rock voters this fall. On the Nov. 5 ballot, they’ll see $123.6 million in city bonds to upgrade parks and libraries, and build new fire stations and a fire and police training facility — on top of the $315 million that Williamson County is requesting for about 60 roads and parks projects. The mood of Round Rock voters — who account for a fifth of Williamson...

Voter ID rollout smooth, despite complaints about women being turned away

Democrats — nationally and in Texas — have been trying to gain political traction by saying that Texas’ new voter identification law is hurting women, but election officials in Central Texas say the law isn’t proving to be much of a problem. The Texas Democratic Party said in an email that “Texans throughout the state – particularly women voters – are running...

New athletic complex proposed for Taylor High School

On the ballot: A $7 million bond proposal for voters in the Taylor independent school district. The funding would pay for a new football and soccer stadium with 4,500 seats and a track and turf field, a new fieldhouse with a weight room and training and dressing rooms, new baseball and softball fields, restrooms, concessions, storage for the current tennis center and parking and traffic improvements...

First Democratic candidate announces 2014 bid in Williamson County

Eddie Hurst, Jr., a Democrat who says he’s in favor of increased support for veterans, bringing a rail line to Williamson County and higher taxes when they’re necessary, has announced that he’s running in 2014 to oust Commissioner Cynthia Long. He is the first Democratic candidate in the county to publicly state he’s seeking office next year, said Karen Carter, chair of the...

Counties see increased early voting turnouts

An increase in some early voting numbers in Central Texas might mean a bigger turnout on election day compared with other similar elections, officials said. The 15 most-populated counties in Texas which include Travis and Williamson counties also saw an increase in early voting. The turnout could be driven by various factors, including the race in Travis County to fill a vacant seat in State Representative...

Most polls close in Texas’ first photo ID-required election

Polls are closed around most of Texas, with El Paso in the Mountain Time Zone having an extra hour, and election workers are tallying the final votes in the state’s first photo ID-required race. Results will come in the next few hours for races that include a highly-publicized state constitutional amendment to create a $2 billion water project fund and a $65 million Austin affordable housing...

Voter ID law poses few problems in its statewide rollout

Texas’ new voter identification requirements presented little trouble during their first statewide test on Tuesday, state and local election officials said. The 2011 law, which was held up by years of legal wrangling, requires voters to present a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport, concealed handgun license or state-issued election identification certificate...

Round Rock bonds headed toward passage in early returns

With most of the votes counted Tuesday, Round Rock’s proposed $123.6 million in bonds seemed headed for passage. The bonds, which had wide margins of support, would pay for a new main library, three new fire stations, a new training facility for police and fire and the extension of hike and bike trails. “I’m really pleased with the outcome,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw...

Roads, parks bonds headed toward approval in Williamson County

A bond package that would allow Williamson County to borrow $315 million for roads and parks projects was headed for approval Tuesday night. The $275 million roads measure and the $40 million parks initiative both had wide margins of support with nearly all precincts reporting. County officials and supporters of the bond package have emphasized that to cope with rapid population growth, improvements...

Waxahachie-based tech called in to fix Williamson County voting machine

Update 10:11 a.m.: The Williamson County elections administrator said Wednesday morning that only six votes were affected by technical issues with a voting machine stationed at Leander High School. Jason Barnett, who was selected as administrator in July, said the votes were secured by a technician from the iVotronic machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, and results were posted soon after....

ELECTION ROUNDUP: Spicewood voters approve taxing district for fire department; runoff ahead for Leander council seat

BEE CAVE Roads tax earns approval A measure to continue charging a 1/8-cent sales tax to repair and maintain roads in Bee Cave was approved with a wide margin of support. State law requires cities to give voters a choice in renewing the tax every four years. Last fiscal year, the tax brought in about $474,107 for numerous road improvement projects. BUDA Husband, wife lose bids for council seats The...

Williamson County voters approve bonds for roads, parks

Williamson County has released its final elections tally, which showed strong support for the county’s $315 million bond package and the city of Round Rock’s $123.6 million bond package. The county reported technical glitches with two of its iVotronic machines before midnight. One machine was fixed by the county, but the other required the attention of a technician from the machine vendor...

How a voting glitch held up Williamson County’s 2013 election results

Six Williamson County votes were not counted until after 2 a.m. Wednesday because of technical issues with a voting machine stationed at Leander High School. That glitch resulted in the county being one of four Texas counties that had not finished tallying results by midnight, a Texas Secretary of State spokeswoman said. Smith County completed its vote count last, at 3:26 a.m., about an hour after...
Leander council runoff pits insider versus outsider

Leander council runoff pits insider versus outsider

Snapshots of City Council candidate Ron Abruzzese planting signs that proclaim his “experienced vision for Leander” have circulated on Facebook, by way of posts from several local officeholders. Networking, both online and off, is at the heart of Abruzzese’s campaign. He’s zeroed in on those who voted in the November special election and asked for endorsements from well-known...
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