AM Update: Texas Primaries Finally Arrive, Fatal SMU Standoff, County Commissioners Meet

May 29, 2012

Polls Open for 2012 Texas Primaries

After being pushed back repeatedly, the Texas primary elections are here.

Voters in the Republican and Democratic primaries will nominate candidates for offices ranging from the President and U.S. Senate to county positions like District Attorney and Tax Assessor-Collector.  You can view the parties’ sample ballots online.

Polls opened at 7 a.m., and although early voting numbers have been low, Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade is hoping for a higher election day turnout.

Closer to home, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has several tips for voters:

1.  Before heading to the polls.

Review your voter registration certificate.

In addition to the precinct number, the 2012 yellow VR card lists the current district for congress/senate/house/county commissioner and JP/constable. 

Double-check your precinct and polling place.
Many voters have a new precinct in 2012! More than 168,000 households have polling places that have changed – most due to redistricting. Click here to find your precinct.

Vote in the precinct where you are registered.
Voters MUST vote at the designated polling place for their registered address. 

2.  At the Polls.

Bring ID.

A voter registration certificate, state issued driver’s license or identification card or other documents that can establish the voter’s identity and address are acceptable. (Photo ID requirements are NOT in effect.)

Affirm your party preference.
Voters who choose to participate in a Primary election will be asked their party preference in order to assign the correct ballot. 

Review ballot summary before casting ballot.
Each voter sees a ballot summary listing all selected candidates. Carefully review your choices before pressing the CAST BALLOT button. If you have questions – ask a poll worker for help.

Polls close at 7 p.m. Further questions? You can visit the County Clerk’s elections website, or call 512-238-VOTE (238-8683).

SMU Standoff Ends With Fatal Fall

A tense incident in Dallas came to a tragic end overnight, as a man holed up in a construction crane 100-feet above the Southern Methodist University campus fell to his death.

CBS News and Dallas affiliate KTVT report that the man, possibly a suspect in a campus-area carjacking Monday morning, climbed up the crane that afternoon. Communicating through a radio in the crane’s control booth, the man claimed to have a gun, and said he would resist any attempts by police to remove him.

The situation came to a head early this morning, CBS reports:

The situation got more dramatic around 2 a.m., after police tried to climb up the crane, when the suspect was seen climbing out of the cab. He appeared to be trying to change his position when he slipped and fell to the ground.

Police report no gun has been found since.

Travis County Commissioners Talk F1, Incentives

The Travis County Commissioners Court convenes today.

Among the items on tap: Possible action on the county’s outdoor burn ban, which hasn’t been in effect since February; issues relating to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 track, including road improvements, safety and traffic management; and a private discussion item covering economic development negotiations.

That last topic isn’t going anywhere: the Austin American-Statesman reports that, in light of protracted negotiations with Apple, the county is revisiting its incentives policy, capping tax refunds at 80 percent provided certain requirements are met:  

Commissioners are considering a proposal drawn up by staffers and a few commissioners that would require a company to hire or train economically disadvantaged people to reach the maximum discount of 80 percent. The commissioners are expected to approve a new draft of rules June 12 in advance of a public hearing June 26.

The commissioners court meets in the Travis County Administration Building, 314 West 11th St., 9 a.m.