WHITEHOUSE - A $94.8 million school board bond package is on the ballot for Whitehouse Independent School District (WISD) and some voters are not seeing it on their ballots.
If the bond passes, there will be many improvements made to the district including a new elementary school, new junior high building and additions to the high school.
Mark Hays lives in the Cumberland Estates area of Tyler. He said he did not realize the bond was not on his ballot until it was too late.
"I thought that was funny, but I didn't say anything to the election officials because I thought, 'Maybe we're voting on this separately in Whitehouse or something'," Hays said.
After talking to his wife later that evening, they checked their precinct. He has always been precinct 37. However, his wife is precinct 37-4.
He said this is where the disparity occurred.
"You can be a 37 and be in the Tyler ISD or you can be a 37-4 and only be in Whitehouse ISD," Hays said. "I was not given that option, nor did my driver's license show that, even though I'm in the district of Whitehouse."
Regardless of whether a voter is for or against the bond, Hays said not having a vote counted is like not voting at all.
And Hays is not the only one we spoke to having issues at the booth.
Pam Crabtree also lives in Tyler. She said she was aware of the issue before going to vote.
"The poll worker told me it wasn't a problem. It hadn't happened to anybody ever before. Which kind of confuses me, because I know the election folks have been told this is a problem, and you would think they would have alerted the poll workers," Crabtree said.
She said the poll workers told her the issue was due to 911 records. Crabtree was shows as living in the Hubbard-Lee district. After correcting them, she said the poll workers said they had to check the appraisal records.
"After they checked the appraisal records, they were able to see we lived in the Whitehouse district and they were able to change the precinct number manually," Crabtree said.
Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson said she has not had any issue this week, but she did hear a few complaints last week regarding the Whitehouse ISD bond.
"If the voter gets the incorrect ballot, because a precinct is split up into several pieces of the pie, and the clerk gives them the part of the pie that doesn't have it, that's the voter's fault," Nelson said.
Crabtree said while the voter should be informed on every issue on the ballot, that is not always the reality going into the polls.
"Had I not known to argue and ask, one of two things. One, I would've never asked. I would've submitted and walked out. Or I would've gone through the process and after I submitted thought that the bond would've popped up afterwards," she said.
Voters impacted by the ballot hiccups seem to be in Tyler and Flint, but not in the City of Whitehouse.
Nelson's advice to voters is to make sure you double check your ballot and educate yourself on what issues pertain to your precinct. If you have any questions, make sure to ask before you cast your ballot.
Early voting ends on Nov. 4.
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