OPINION COLUMNS

Voters showing interest in runoff election

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, July 28, 2012

After low voter turnout in the primary election, it didn’t appear there would be too much interest in the runoff election.

After all, on the Democratic side, there is only one race, for U.S. senator.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

The Republican ballot offers a few more selections to make, but the only local race is Precinct 2 constable. The ballot also includes U.S. senator, two railroad commissioner seats and supreme court Place 4 justice.

Mix that with the fact that the primary runoff election is in the middle of summer, when a lot of people are on vacation, and during Wise County Reunion week. It appeared to be a recipe for low turnout.

But that hasn’t necessarily been the case.

Through Thursday, a total of 707 votes had been cast early. That’s actually more than the number who voted in the first four days of early voting during the primary election (566). It should be noted that early voting in the primary lasted two weeks rather than one for the runoff.

Wise County Elections Administrator Lannie Noble said the trend does not seem to be confined to just Wise County. He has gotten reports from other counties around the state that are seeing higher-than-anticipated numbers of early voters.

My best guess is the U.S. Senate race is driving people to the polls. After all, you can’t turn on the television or listen to the radio without hearing an associated campaign ad, particularly between the two Republican candidates, David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz.

Whatever the reason, it’s always a pleasant surprise to see better-than-expected numbers of people taking part in one of the greatest rights we have in this nation – the ability to choose who will represent us in government.

PREPARING FOR WEST NILE

Numbers of human cases of West Nile virus have increased this year compared to the last several years. The number of counties in Texas reporting cases of West Nile already exceed the number for all of last year, and there have been two deaths related to West Nile virus in Dallas County.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) says the number of cases is higher this year due to the warm winter and recent rains, meaning more mosquitoes, the carriers of the disease.

So far, no cases, human or otherwise, have been reported in Wise County, according to information provided by the TDSHS, but human cases have been reported in surrounding counties of Denton, Tarrant and Cooke.

There was a suspected case of human West Nile virus in a woman who lives near Decatur, but those test results came back negative last week. Wise County has only had one confirmed case of West Nile virus, and that was in 2003.

In fact, in the last eight years, there have been only three cases of West Nile reported in the county, and it was in horses all three times.

But this might be the year that West Nile makes a local comeback. To reduce the exposure to West Nile, TDSHS offers the following advice:

  • use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
  • drain any standing water on your property;
  • wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active; and
  • use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out.

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