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Early voting for Dec. 12 runoff election starts Wednesday

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Election season isn’t over yet in El Paso. A handful of local races weren’t decided on Nov. 3 and will be settled in the Dec. 12 runoff election.

At the top of the ballot is the El Paso mayoral race between incumbent Dee Margo and former Mayor Oscar Leeser. Other citywide races include Municipal Court No. 4 judge and Municipal Court of Appeals judge.

West-Central voters will decide between incumbent District 2 city Rep. Alexsandra Annello and former district chief of staff Judy Gutierrez. Northeast El Paso voters will choose between incumbent District 4 city Rep. Sam Morgan and challenger Joe Molinar, a retired El Paso police sergeant.

Use the El Paso Matters voters guide to research the candidates.

Early voting schedule

Early voting starts this Wednesday. Polling sites are closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday and reopen Saturday, Nov. 28 through Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Voters can cast a ballot at any of the 28 early voting sites. Hours and locations can be found here.

Election Day is Saturday, Dec. 12. Approximately 130 polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, including an express curbside site at the El Paso County Coliseum, 4100 E. Paisano Drive.

Mail-in ballot applications due Dec. 1

The El Paso County Elections Department must receive mail-in ballot applications by 5 p.m. Dec. 1. You can print your own application from the Elections Department website, or call 915-546-2154 to have an application sent to you.

Registered voters are eligible to vote by mail if they are 65 years or older, have a disability or illness, are in jail but not convicted of a felony, or will be out of El Paso County during the entire early voting period and on Election Day.

Voters who marked runoff or annual ballot on a previous mail-in ballot application do not need to reapply.

Mail-in ballots will start going out Wednesday, said Lisa Wise, elections administrator.

The Elections Department will count your ballot as long as they receive it via mail by 5 p.m. the day after the election, Dec. 13, and it is postmarked no later than 7 p.m. Election Day. It’s best to mail your ballot as early as possible. You can also return your ballot in-person to the Elections Department, 500 E. San Antonio Ave., on Election Day.

Runoff to likely see low turnout

The Nov. 3 election saw record voter turnout, thanks to the municipal races being on the same ballot as the presidential contest.

Fifty-four percent of the city’s 402,657 registered voters participated in the mayoral race, according to Elections Department data.

Nearly 18,000 District 2 voters — or 45% of registered voters in the district — cast a ballot in their city representative race. Close to 26,000 District 4 voters — or 48% of those registered — participated in their City Council election.

This year’s municipal runoff is expected to see far lower turnout, based on historical election data.

Last December’s District 3 runoff election and District 6 special election saw a combined 4.5% voter turnout, with approximately 4,200 ballots cast in both races.

The last mayoral race, which fell in May 2017, had just under 33,000 voters participate.

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Molly Smith

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014, with stops in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and now El Paso. She can be reached at mksmith@elpasomatters.org or 915-247-8857.

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