BRAZOS COUNTY, TEXAS — The runoff race to determine who will fill the College Station's City Council Place-5 seat is underway, but so far, not many residents have voted.
"Up until this very minute we have had 347 people walk in," Trudy Hancock said Friday morning at 10 am.
Elections Administrator for Brazos County Trudy Hancock says the turnout for this runoff election race has been on the lower side so far, but she also says you never really know what to expect.
"We even had 24% of the people who voted and that were qualified for the City (races) did not even vote in the city races in the general (election)," Hancock added.
So... for some, they may be voting in this city race for the first time. Early voting for the Place-5 City Council seat began Monday. After 4 full days of the polls being open, tallies are starting to pick up.
"The first day we only had I think 31 voters.. The second day 74. Yesterday we did really well. We had over 150 voters yesterday," Hancock added.
The lack of early voting turn out could be due to a number of reasons, voter fatigue, the holidays or even COVID-19 taking over many conversations. For whatever reason it may be, the lack of early voting during a busy holiday season doesn't even leave the candidates surprised.
"Frankly.. I'm not terribly surprised. I don't think people have really come out of their Thanksgiving holiday" Nichols said. "During the holiday season, it's not unexpected. We have COVID-19 to worry about. I think the second week of early voting we will see more people stirring out," John Nichols, Incumbent of the Place-5 seat.
Challenging the Incumbent John Nichols, is Craig Regan. He too, is not surprised.
"This is what happens when you have a runoff right after Thanksgiving... right before Christmas.. in the middle of a pandemic and when half the population has left the town," Challenger, Craig Regan said.
Both candidates have a clear message this time: make sure voters know a runoff race is happening.
"That's where we kinda have to focus our energy is just making people generally aware of the circumstances and then saying, "Hey! while you are at it....give me a thought." Regan said. "We have to get people out there and make them aware of the election. Let them vote how they see fit, but at the very least make them aware of it," He added.
"It's not about convincing people to vote for you or the other candidate, it's really just a matter of turning out people to vote. People have made up their minds. If they are going to show up at the polling place, they already know who they are going to vote for," Nichols said.
A runoff was decided because no-one earned 50% plus one of the votes for this race back in November's General Election. Incumbent John Nichols led with nearly 46% of the votes and challenger Craig Regan posted 37%. Trudy Hancock says they mailed out over two-thousand ballots and they have received several hundred back.
December 15th, the City will be electing the Place-5 City Council seat. Early voting began November 30th and will continue until December 11th.
Election Day for this runoff race is December 15th.
The main Early Voting center location is The College Station Utilities Meeting and Training Facility located on Graham Road in College Station. The hours for early voting are:
- November 30th - December 4th
8 am until 5 pm
- December 7th and 8th
7 am until 7 pm
- December 9th through 11th
8 am until 5 pm
On Election Day, you can either cast your ballot at the College Station Utilities Meeting and Training Facility or at the Bob and Wanda Meyer Senior and Community Center, both locations are scheduled to be open from 7am until 7pm on Election Day. There are no voting weekend times this election.