Early voting kicked off Monday for cities, schools

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat

New administrator opens voting for May election

Election Judge Tammie Mitchell, at the door, prepares to leave the Grayson County Elections Administration Office on Friday with equipment for the May 1 cities and schools elections. Early voting for that began this week and continues through Tuesday of next week.

The early voting cycle that started this week in Grayson County and continues through next Tuesday is not the first one that Tamie Hayes has worked at the Grayson County Elections Administration Department, but it is the first one she has run as the department's administrator.

Hayes was hired for the position after the county's first elections administrator, Deana Patterson, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Grayson County Clerk Wilma Bush who retired earlier this year. 

As the elections administrator for the county, she will oversee voter registration and election preparation as well as conducting elections from cities and schools to county and national races. 

Hayes has been with the Elections Department for six years and before that, she worked for the city of Bonham.

"I worked at City Hall doing accounts payable and receptionist duties. I was also the secretary for their economic development  corporation for ten years," Hayes said. Prior to that she worked in management positions in various companies in the Metroplex.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Hayes said both her family and her husband were in the military so she has traveled around a good bit. Job opportunities brought her and her husband to the North Texas area. They live in the Bells area and have since 2013.

She said this election cycle there are 13 entities holding elections and early voting started this week. Voters can cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week long. 

"Then we will have 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. voting times on Monday and Tuesday of next week," she said. This is the first election cycle, she said, where they will offer county-wide polling places for city and school elections.

Grayson County Election Administrator Tamie Hayes

"That means any voter can got to any (polling) site and find their ballots on the machines," she said. The point is to try to make voting in all elections as convenient for voters as possible.

She said the number of voters in the county continues to grow with the registered voter rolls growing by about 5,000 in the last year to 86,000. 

And she said they can't wait to help those people cast ballots.

"We are here to help. We are here to answer any questions, to try to dispel any rumors or myths (that people might hear). We will do all of the research we can and provide any documentation or evidence that they need. We are here for the voters. We call it voter care."

Early voting started Monday in the schools and city elections in Grayson County. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

The office is non partisan and works with all political parties and independents to make sure elections are carried out as according to state laws.

When she is not working, Hayes likes to fish, camp and hang out by the pool. She also likes to travel to Cancun with her husband. Between them, the two have five children and eight grandchildren. "They're scattered. The farthest are in Florida and Chicago."

She is also an avid reader who really loves Nora Roberts books.

"I got to meet her in person about two years ago," Hayes said.

She is also looking forward to continuing to meet local voters in person and as well as those who might like to work local elections. They have openings for elections clerks throughout the county in coming elections

"We are willing to train any clerks that live in those areas (where they have openings) and who want to work their way up (to election judges)," she said.  

For more information about local elections see: https://www.co.grayson.tx.us/page/elec.home

From the left, Shirley Covington, Terry Mitchell and Tammie Mitchell load election equipment for the spring elections on Friday. Early voting started this week and continues through Tuesday.