By LIBBY CLUETT
PALO PINTO – It all came down to one person making a difference when Palo Pinto County Commissioners had to deny a petition to have a November election. The petition was submitted by Santo's proposed Palo Pinto County Emergency Services District No. 2.
The prospective entity needed signatures from 100 registered voters with taxable real property within the district in order to be placed on the November ballot. They filed the petition with 126 signatures on June 6 with the county clerk's office, explained Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator Judith Evans.
After receiving the petition on June 10, Evans said that in two weeks she had several discussions with County Attorney Phil Garrett and the Texas Secretary of State's office to determine which signatures qualified and which did not.
Seven names on the petition were not registered voters, four were out of the proposed district's range and 16 were not property owners in the district, Evans informed commissioners. This left the PPCESD No. 2 with 99 qualified voters who had real property in the district – one signature short.
“We just want to see every election succeed in their processing and with their petition,” Evans said of the Santo EMS group. “Whenever you watch them get that close to getting an election, and it's their third try, it's hard.”
The next step for the proposed district is to “regroup, reorganize and repeat the process in a year to be on the November 2014 election,” Evans said, adding, “They can't do a May election because it's a primary year and we don't have enough [voting] machines [to hold another election].”
Evans further explained that she expects the same district mapping issues that affected the entire state during the last primary election, which was pushed back to late May, from its usual early March date.
“If the Supreme Court system doesn't get the maps straightened out, we could possibly end up having a delayed primary election,” she said.