City, school board holding elections on May 12

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

As of yet, no one has filed for the City of Orange Grove elections or the Orange Grove ISD School Board race. The first day for filing was Feb. 10. In both elections, three positions are up for election.

Alderman Lonnie Wostal and Alderwomen Natalie David and Norma Cornejo are open.

Glena Hackfeld, the city's election official, said that the incumbents normally wait to file during the council meeting before the filing deadline, which is March 12.

The city race is an at-large contest, which means the top three candidates with the most votes will fill the three spots on the council.

Last year, Mayor Seale Brand, Carl Srp and Noe Aguilar were up for re-election, but due to a lack of challengers, the election was canceled.

Early voting will be from April 30 to May 8, and will take place at City Hall. Election Day is May 12, and will be held at Orange Grove High School, under a joint agreement with OGISD.

Although both entities are holding separate elections, they have agreed to hold their election day activities at the same polling location.

In the event that the school district does not hold an election, then the city will hold its election once again at City Hall.

The city has contracted with the county to use the E Slate voting machines during the election, but the city will use its own election judges.

"The last city election held was 2005, where we had approximately 20 to 25 percent turnout," Hackfeld said.

OGISD Director of Operations Dane Beasley said early voting for the school district will take place in the administration building.

Board Trustees Praxesdis Jimenez, Kathy Rusk and Billy Hartman will be facing election this year.

Hartman served out the remainder of Dorian David's term, who left office last year to recuse himself from an employee hiring decision the board was facing, which involved a David family member.

Beasley said that no applications have been received yet, and that an election didn't take place last year because the trustees involved in the race were unopposed.

The election day voting will take place at OGHS, at the same location as the city, but as a separate election.

"The school district is exempt this year from the voting machines due to a provision in House Bill 1, which allows the holding of joint election sites, but separate election," Beasley said.

"If OGISD and the city were having a joint election, with the same election officials for both, then the school would have to have access to E-Slate voting machines. Since they're having elections though at potentially same polling location, but having separate elections, then by law in House Bill 1, the district doesn't have to use those machines this year. By the law, as it exists now, we'd have to use them starting next year," Beasley said.