With the 2018 midterms over, here is a recap of notable returns and a few other things to know this week in Georgetown.
1. Williamson County touts high election turnout; 114 votes still to be counted
Voter turnout for 2018 midterms topped 62 percent in Williamson County, according to unofficial returns from the county elections department. County officials said in a Nov. 9 news release that Williamson County’s turnout was the highest among the 12 most-populated counties in Texas. However, technical issues delayed Williamson County’s vote counts and kept the outcomes of some races in question as election night wore on.
A glitch on the county’s website temporarily removed most local races from its election results page while politicians, campaign officials, journalists and others watched returns unfold. As of 3:22 p.m. Saturday, 114 votes logged on an iVotronic machine used during one day of early voting had not been extracted, counted and included in the county’s unofficial results. A vendor is working to extract the votes from the machine, which “has a mechanical issue,” according to a message posted on the county’s elections webpage.
2. Voters approve Prop. A in Georgetown ISD’s bond
Georgetown ISD received voter approval for $150.5 million in bond funding through Prop. A in the district’s bond election. The funding will pay for two new elementary schools and other projects to address safety and security, technology upgrades and investments in fine arts. Voters rejected the district’s secondary Prop. B, a standalone ballot measure that sought $15.5 million to build a new swimming facility. Community Impact Newspaper’s Ali Linan has more on what happens next.
Unofficial results show 24,966 votes for Prop. A and 12,059 votes against. The unofficial count for Prop. B shows 17,892 votes for the measure and 18,869 votes against.
3. Gravell elected Williamson County judge
Democratic candidates offered much stronger competition in Williamson County last week than during elections in previous years, but the county judge position will remain Republican when Dan Gattis retires at the end of the year. Bill Gravell, the county’s justice of the peace for Precinct 3, defeated Democratic candidate Blane Conklin and independent candidate Bill Kelberlau, and will take over as county judge in January.
Gravell will sit on the five-member county Commissioners Court along with newcomer Precinct 4 Commissioner-elect Russ Boles and re-elected Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long, who won races for the two commission seats up for election this year. Read more here.
4. In 31st, Carter fends off challenge from Hegar
Although Democratic challenger Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar received more votes in Williamson County, voters in Bell County helped U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, win re-election to Texas’ 31st Congressional District. Hegar was seen as the toughest challenger to face Carter in the 31st District since the congressman was first elected in 2002. The 31st District stretches from North Austin to Temple. Read more here on the race between Carter and Hegar as well as other federal and statewide races relevant to Georgetown.
5. Georgetown’s road maintenance tax good for four more years
Voters widely approved the reauthorization of a quarter-cent sales tax that funds more than half of the road maintenance costs for the city of Georgetown. The tax has been in place in Georgetown since 2002. Texas law requires voters to reauthorize such taxes every four years.
6. City seeks applicants for boards, commissions
The application period is open for Georgetown residents interested in serving on one of the city’s advisory boards or commissions. The submission deadline is Jan. 4. Georgetown has more than 20 advisory boards and commissions. Members will be appointed in February and will begin serving in March. Here is more information on the application process from the city.
7. Details set for this year’s Lighting of the Square
Outgoing Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis will join Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross on Nov. 23 to officially flip the switch to illuminate the county courthouse grounds during this year’s rendition of the annual Lighting of the Square. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the lighting ceremony taking place about 6 p.m. at 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.
Festivities include entertainment from the Austin Carolers and refreshments. Williamson County Brown Santa offers photos with Santa Claus in the courthouse with a $10 donation. The Williamson Museum hosts a free children’s craft event and live music by Evelyn Billington. Shops on the Square will also remain open for business until 8 p.m.