I signed up to help with the primary election coming up on March 5, went to a training session, and came home with information overload! Goodness, so much to remember about the process!

Irene Espinoza, Mary Espinoza and Jessica Martinez led the session, going through the process and talking about exceptions and what to expect on election day. I won’t try to go through all the details,  but everyone should volunteer to be an election clerk at least once just to know how the system works and to realize what a service we as citizens are being blessed with by the the people who run the elections.

County Clerk Irene Espinoza is in charge of the whole affair, Mary Espinoza is chief deputy clerk and  Jessica Martinez is deputy clerk. They have to be on duty from the very beginning that morning to the very end that night, no matter how long it takes, following all the steps that make the election legal. And sometimes that takes well into the night.

Those of us who attended the training will be election clerks; on the Republican side Scott Miller is the election judge for precincts 1 and 3, and Mark Espinoza is the election judge for precincts 2 and 4. The Democratic primary will have one election judge, Roseann Gloria, for all four precincts. Irene, Mary, and Jessica will be stationed at the courthouse, mobile phones in hand, to help when situations occur that they will know how to fix.

If you vote in the Republican primary, a whopping thirteen propositions are on the ballot. If you take longer than five minutes to read all that and run out of time, your vote will be timed out by the voting machine, and you get to start over and do it again! I would encourage you to go to the courthouse and go upstairs to Irene’s office and pick up a sample ballot and a sheet listing the propositions so you can study them and be prepared on election day to vote your conscience. If you vote in the Democratic primary, there are no propositions, but a sample ballot would still prepare you to vote. Also be aware that the only contested race in this election is for precinct 3 County Commissioner which is on the Republican ballot, so if you want to vote on that race, you will need to vote Republican in this primary election.

But, even better than that, after studying your sample ballot, take advantage of early voting, which runs from February 20 to March 1, and vote then. Because it runs for several days, you usually don’t have to stand in line and things go much faster. Plus, then you don’t have to worry about getting to the polls in time before they close on March 5 at 7 p.m. I was told that if you are in line at that time, when the doors close, you will be allowed to vote. But if you get there later, you will be turned away.

Be aware that for this primary, extended hours will be in effect and you can vote over the weekend. February 20 through February 23 voting will be from 8am  to 5pm, February 24 from 7am to 7pm, February 25 from 9am to 3pm, and February 26 to March 1 from 7am to 7pm at the courthouse. If you aren’t able to climb the stairs, you will be accomodated downstairs and can vote there. If you have questions, feel free to contact the county clerk at 806-272-3044.

Both Republicans and Democrats will vote in this Primary at the Bailey County Coliseum on March 5 from 7am to 7pm. Early voting in both parties will be at the Bailey County courthouse. Curbside voting will also be available at both locations.

Be a good citizen, do your homework, and go vote!

And say thank you to the people who are running the show.

Thanks to Mary Espinoza, Irene Espinoza, and Jessica Martinez for their help with this story. And thank you for running these elections!