Searching for answers the old-fashioned way

Published 10:03 am Monday, June 13, 2016

Editorial by Bobby Tingle


One fine Saturday morning, I left the comfort of my home to run some errands. One of those errands on my list was to cast my vote. At stake were one city council position and three Trustee positions on the West Orange Cove Consolidated Independent School District board. I was not eligible to vote for the city council position. My Councilman was not on the ballot. I live in Council Member District 3 and according to the City of Orange website Essie Bellfield is my representative. The only contested City Council seat at the time was District 4. Annette Pernell took that seat in the election. My mission was to vote for three school board Trustees.

At issue was where to vote. I am reluctant to say, since I am in the communication business, that I did not know. But I didn’t.

The WOCCISD administration building was not the place to vote. When I drove into the parking lot it was empty. A sign on the door provided a persons name and phone number. I did not take advantage of that information, but instead drove to my next choice.

The Orange Public Library was not the place to vote either. I did not really expect it would be. Early voting took place there in the prior two weeks, but not this Saturday morning. I did take advantage of early voting at the library a few weeks later to vote in the Republican Primary Runoff election.  However this was not the place to vote for this municipal and school board election.

At that point I really did not know where to go. I had other errands and was in a bit of a time crunch. As I drove down Green Avenue I noticed political signs lining the road in front of West Orange-Stark Middle School. Bingo!

Pulling into the parking lot I doubted I would be able to vote but I hoped to find out where I could. That proved to be a good plan.

After exchanging good mornings and showing my photo identification card the poll workers informed me that I was at the wrong location. They directed me to Cordrey Avenue where I was able to vote at the North Early Learning Center. My duty was done in a few minutes and I was on my way.

But before I left the Middle School, I noticed a treasure leaning on the wall. It was a map of the various voting area boundaries. As best as I can remember it was a map of the county and proved insightful to this Orange County newcomer. I am sure the poll workers thought I was a little off as I stared at the map. When I asked them who owned the map I do believe they told me it was the City of Orange. My intention was to pursue the owner to find out if there is a copy of the map available that could be reproduced. I have not followed up on that.

At least two other individuals know the value of the information that map contains. I spoke to them in the parking lot. They informed me of an encounter with at least one other individual who made their way to the middle school only to find out they would have to go somewhere else to perform their duty.

So, beginning soon, I will be doing a search for answers the old fashioned way. I am going to make some phone calls and pay some visits and see about finding a reproducible copy of that map.

Wish me luck. If we can get one more voter to the polls the effort will be worth it.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. He can be reached at