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Waco: Early voting begins

Early voting started Monday ahead of the Nov. 5 general election. (Photo by Alex Gibbs)
Early voting started Monday ahead of the Nov. 5 general election. (Photo by Alex Gibbs)(KWTX)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 6:43 PM CDT
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Early voting is underway in Central Texas and around the state on a slate of proposed amendments to the state Constitution as well as local bond issue proposals and school board and city council races.

McLennan County voters will decide whether to authorize a $14.54 bond issue to fund an expansion project at Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo that would include a habitat for endangered South African black-footed penguins, an education and veterinary complex, and renovations to the existing commissary and hoofstock barn.

“We also see over 26,000 children per year in educational programing so a new education complex will allow us to almost double that amount,” said Terri Cox, the executive director of the Cameron Park Zoological and Botanical Society.”

Cox said the expansion is long overdue.

The exhibit, she said, would not only be a great addition for Waco, but also would also help in the preservation of the endangered species.

“They are critically endangered in the wild so it’s really important that we work with them and we help contribute to the wild population and their conservation,” she said.

Since opening, the zoo has welcomed just shy of 5 million visitors.

If the bond issue proposal passes, it would not require a tax increase.

The county says the money will replace other debts that are paid off.

“This year just happened to be the perfect timing for a bond referendum for us because it will not raise property taxes as a result of this bond,” Cox said.

The early voting period runs for two weeks before Election Day on Nov. 5 and, McLennan County Elections Administrator Kathy Van Wolfe says every vote counts.

“All elections, even your local issues are very important to voting because those are people that are making laws that you’re going to have to follow locally,” she said.