By Phillip Williams
Upshur County voters go to the polls Saturday for the statewide election on two proposed amendments to the state constitution, and for elections involving three governmental bodies in the county.
New Diana ISD voters will decide the fate of a $23.76 million bond issue, while Ore City ISD voters choose three school board members. Gladewater city voters (including some who live in the city’s Gregg County section) will choose between two candidates for a vacant city council seat.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at eight Upshur locations. Under “countywide” voting, a voter can cast his/her ballot at any of them, but only voters living in New Diana ISD can cast ballots in the bond election, while only residents of Ore City ISD can vote in its school board race.
Only Gladewater voters who live in the Upshur County portion of that city can vote in the council race in Upshur County. Gregg County voters who are eligible to participate will vote in that county.
The proposed amendments are aimed at lowering school property taxes.
The New Diana bond issue proposal for improvements to school facilities, which would trigger a 31-cent hike in the school property tax rate if approved, has aroused some visible opposition. Part of the school district lies in Harrison County, so voters in that section of New Diana ISD can also cast ballots.
In Ore City ISD, three incumbents seeking re-election and a fourth candidate, Megan Leath, are seeking 3-year terms on the board in an at-large election where the top three vote-getters win. The incumbents include Tracy Copeland Berryman, Bobby Byrd, and Virginia Harris.
The Gladewater election for council Place 4 is between Jacob Jed Garland and Teddy W. Sorrells Jr., vying for the 1-year unexpired term of Dennis Robertson, who moved out of the city and resigned.
Election-day polling places in Upshur County include the Upshur County Library in Gilmer, East Mountain Community Center, Ashland Masonic Lodge on Texas 154 in Diana, Assembly of God in Gilmer, Ore City Community Center, Oak Hill Baptist Church in Bettie, Big Sandy ISD and St. James Baptist Church in Gladewater.
As of late Tuesday morning, final day for in-person early voting in the county, 575 had cast ballots in the amendment election, while 213 had voted in the New Diana election, 14 had cast ballots in the Gladewater council race, and 10 had voted in the Ore City ISD board election, said county Deputy Election Administrator Kami Whitworth. Those totals did not include ballots from other counties in the New Diana and Gladewater elections.