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Turnout is expected to be light next week as early voting opens Monday on state constitutional amendments despite officials urging voters to cast ballots.

Eight proposed changes are included on the ballot, one of which, if approved, would ensure families have access to loved ones residing in nursing homes even in a pandemic.

Proposition 6 appears on the ballot due to the efforts of State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, whose district includes Wharton County.

Kolkhorst fought for the issue to go before voters, authoring a bill during the last regular legislative session that passed as Senate Joint Resolution 19.

“During COVID-19, many Texans in nursing homes and assisted living homes were denied any contact with family or friends for months, due to the declared public health emergency. Visiting a loved one in a nursing home should be a right, not a privilege,” Kolkhorst said.

The amendment allows families to designate a caregiver to visit.

“It (and all other propositions on the ballot) are important. It may not affect you right now, but it may in 10 years; or your family or it may affect your neighbor. Read the propositions, take the time to understand them and vote your conscious,” Wharton County Elections Administrator Cindy Richter said Monday.

Also related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Proposition 3, if approved, would prohibit the state or other governmental entities from placing limits on religious services.

During the virus’ 2020 peak, occupancy limits were place on church attendance along with everything from funeral homes to restaurants.

Other propositions deal with blight, homestead exemptions for limited populations and raffles at rodeos (please see story Page X).

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 18.

Wharton County voters can cast ballots at the El Campo Library, 200 W. Church; Wharton County Annex D, 315 E. Milam in Wharton; and the East Bernard Library, 746 Clubside in East Bernard.

Early voting polls will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18 to Friday, Oct. 22; and Monday, Oct. 25 to Wednesday, Oct. 27; and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28 and Friday, Oct. 29.

“We don’t expect a large crowd. Please come out and vote. Consider it practice for next November,” Richter said.

The proposed amendments are the only items appearing on the November ballot.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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