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Saturday's elections to determine future of cities, schools districts across Central Texas

Polls open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., locations and time may vary between communities
eSlate
Posted at 7:55 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 08:55:46-04

WACO, TX — Jared Goldsmith is McLennan County's Elections Administrator.

"So it's been exciting to take over this new role," he said.

While he has years of experience working in elections, previously serving as the County's Assistant Election Administrator, Saturday will be his first election in the top role.

Jared Goldsmith
Elections administrator for McLennan County Jared Goldsmith standing outside the county election department. Tape indicating where voters could safely stand before casting their vote in the 2020 Presidential Election last November is still alongside the building. Asked if early voting resembled anything close to the crowd seen in 2020, Goldsmith says, "No, not really," before briefly laughing.

"It's been a privilege to continue to serve our voters here in McLennan County, and I look forward to continuing to have success here in our office."

The experience Goldsmith has will likely be hard to find in future elections administrations professionals. Having gone through the adverse changes caused by the increasing severity of the corona-virus pandemic during May 2020's local elections.

"Well, we didn't have an election in May of last year because the pandemic," Goldsmith explains. "So the Governor's order was to try to get all of the local entities to try to hold their election in November instead,which thankfully, we did."

Covid voting signs
Signs encouraging social distancing and the wearing of face coveringson the doors of the county election department. "We are encouraging voters to wear a mask but we cannot mandate they wear a mask," Election Administrator for McLennan County Jared Goldsmith explains.

To the intense 2020 Presidential Election last November.

"Here in McLennan County it was the highest turnout we ever had in percentage and actual number wise."

It's safe to say, Goldsmith has been through a lot.

"Yeah, last year was interesting," he explains. "And this year is a little more normal."

Saturday's local city and school elections across Central Texas mark a change in tune from last year's cancellation and November 2020 Presidential election, when national politics are dominating factor in attracting voters to the polls.

Goldsmith at desk
Elections administrator for McLennan County Jared Goldsmith at his desk. Totals for early voting in the contracting elections, which ended Tuesday, was a little more than 2,500 Goldsmith said.

Local city and school elections typically attract less voters to the polls, said Goldsmith.

"So turnout for this election, unfortunately, isn't as high as we would probably like," he said.

Early voting ended Tuesday in the county-run elections, which drew more than a couple thousand people to the polls.

"It was a little over 2,500 people who voted in the contracting elections, those entities that contract with the County," Goldsmith said in describing early voting totals for the 11 entities contracting with McLennan County.

Polls will open on Election Day or Saturday, May 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voters.

"One of the biggest issues is that we have we have entities that are contracting with McLennan County, and then we have four entities that are running their own election."

The four entities running their own elections are the City of Bellmead, City of Beverly Hills, China Spring ISD, and Mart ISD.

Screen Shot 2021-04-30 at 7.21.38 AM.png
Campaign signs for Saturday's local elections provide color to the entrance of the parking lot at the McLennan County elections department on a rainy day. The McLennan County election department is not a voting center. You can find your voting center online at McLennanvotes.com, or on your county, city, or school district website.

"Those who are running their own elections, those voters have to go to a specific polling location." Goldsmith explains.

The polling locations for those four entities can be found at the the McLennan County elections website.

"Now, the 11 entities that are contracting with McLennan County, their voters can go vote at any of the voting centers that we have opened on Saturday," Goldsmith explains.

The voting centers for the 11 contracting entities which contract with McLennan County are also provided at this link, where you can also bind sample ballots.

Screen Shot 2021-04-30 at 5.16.25 AM.png
Campaign signs for candidates running in local city and school elections. The elections administrator for McLennan County says it's essential for people to participate in Saturday's local elections because voters directly choose candidates who will be working for them.

Polls are open on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in local elections that will determine the future of some city governments and school districts. Goldsmith said it's important for voters to research ahead of time about what's on their ballot or where to vote, and it's also important to participate.

"Local elections are a great time for you to get out and have your voice heard, because there's not as many people who vote," Goldsmith explains in stressing the importance of Saturday's local elections. "And this is your taxpayer dollars right at work."

After a year full of unprecedented events from a pandemic to an intense November election, it appears neither have diminished the attitude of Goldsmith.

eSlate
Goldsmith explains how to use the e-slate voting system, and how voters will operate it with a Pencil they're given. “It’s not a touch screen so you do have to use a button we’re going to give voters a pencil to manipulate the dial," Goldsmith said. "It's import they review their ballot on the ballot summary page." You can find more information on operating the eSlate voting system at McLennanvotes.com

"I want people when they when the election is all said and done, they know this was done here accurately."

His enthusiasm towards the voting process is as clear as the smile on his face, and perhaps more important, determination toward serving the public just as apparent.

"That's exactly what we want," he explained. "We want the confidence of the voters on our side."

"There is a Photo ID law still in effect," " Goldsmith explains. "If you have a Texas driver's license, that's great. If you have a Texas ID card, that works, too. If you don't there are seven different acceptable forms of ID."

You can find information regarding what ID is acceptable and what's not here.

Remember to do research about what's on your ballot, and where to vote, as ballots and locations are different for voters across Central Texas.