By DAVID LOPEZ
Early voting for the Texas primary runoff election began this past Monday.
Early voting for the state’s Democratic and Republican elections was initially scheduled for May 26 but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early voting will run until July 10, with primary election day on July 14.
The last day to apply for mail-in voting was July 2.
The Cameron County Department of Elections and Voter Registration Elections Administrator Remi Garza said that all workers at voting locations are wearing masks and have face shields available and gloves available to them. Hand sanitizer is also provided for voters at the locations’ entrance, and workers are rotating multiple pens for the ballots.
“We’re encouraging everyone who comes in to wear masks and do their civic duty when voting,” said Garza. “We hope everyone will comply for the safety of themselves and others.”
Garza wished to stress that only the Democratic ballot will allow for county-wide participation, as the Republican ballot features only one runoff race for Constable Precinct 1 between Norman Esquivel, Jr. and Pedro Delgadillo. The election applies only to the Laguna Madre area, meaning registered Republicans outside of this area, such as Harlingen or San Benito, are ineligible to vote in that ballot.
The Democratic ballot features several runoffs from the federal to the county level.
For United States senator, the race is between Texas State Sen. Royce West and Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar.
The race for railroad commissioner is between Roberto R. Beto Alonzo and Chrysta Castañeda.
The state senator (District 27) race is between long-time incumbent Eddie Lucio Jr. and challenger Sara Stapleton-Barrera.
The 138th Judicial district judge race is between Gabriela “Gabby” Garcia and Helen Delgadillo.
The Cameron county sheriff runoff is between long-time incumbent Sheriff Omar Lucio and former Cameron County District Clerk Eric Garza.
“Early voting is a good chance for people to vote on their convenience,” said Garza. “They can vote somewhere else instead of only their precinct location and, people will have more time to go through the ballot because of shorter lines.”
Hours for the first week of early voting (June 29 to July 2) are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting locations will be closed July 3 and 4 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.
Voting will reopen Sunday, July 5, from noon to 5 p.m.
Early voting will begin again on Monday, July 6, and run until June 10. The hours for that week are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
According to an unofficial tally from Remi Garza, the Democratic ballot on the first day of early voting saw 119 votes in San Benito, 16 in Rio Hondo, 74 in Los Fresnos, 4 in Los Indios, and 83 in Port Isabel.
The Republican ballot saw 46 votes tallied from the Port Isabel voting location for the first day of early voting.
Below are voting locations in the county:
San Benito Community Building, 210 E. Heywood St.
Los Fresnos Community Building, 204 N. Brazil
Port Isabel City Hall, 305 E. Maxan St.
Rio Hondo ISD Administrative Building, 215 W. Colorado St.
Los Indios Community Center, 308 Heywood St.
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