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Early voting is underway in Hidalgo County and continues through Friday, Nov. 1.
On the ballot for the Nov. 5 general election are several statewide constitutional amendments, various city and school general and special elections, and a special election for South Texas College. Registered voters are encouraged to take advantage of the convenience offered during early voting and cast their ballots at 22 locations and two mobile voting sites located throughout the county.
Unofficial early voting totals indicate that residents are taking an interest in this year’s elections, which generally tend to have lower turnouts than presidential and congressional elections. As of Sunday, Oct. 27, 6,355 ballots were cast in person, with an additional 298 mail-in ballots sent in, for a total of 6,653, according to unofficial counts from the Hidalgo County Elections Department. In comparison, early voting in the last constitutional, general and special election in 2011 yielded a total of 3,381 ballots cast.
Along with the 22 early voting sites located throughout the county, two mobile sites were included this year. Mobile units set up voting locations for the day at businesses, banks, hospitals and community centers, allowing for easier and more convenient access for employees and patrons at those locations to cast their ballots. The mobile sites are proving effective; combined totals for the two mobile units represent approximately 12 percent of the total votes cast in person. As of Sunday, one of the mobile sites ranked third in turnout among all early voting sites.
Hidalgo County officials remind residents that photo identification is now required to vote in person. The new requirement, however, has not posed an issue for the Elections Department so far, reports Election Administrator Yvonne Ramón. To date, no provisional ballots had been administered due to lack of Voter ID at any of the election locations run by the Elections Department; only one provisional had been administered by the City of Alamo. Acceptable forms of identification include a valid Texas driver’s license, identification card, concealed handgun license, military and veterans identification cards, and certificates of naturalization and citizenship, among others. Registered voters who do not possess an acceptable photo identification card can apply for an Elections Identification Certificate at no cost from the Texas Department of Public Safety offices.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. For more information, including early voting schedules, locations and mobile voting sites, Election Day schedules and locations, and sample ballots, visit www.co.hidalgo.tx.us/elections.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.