County’s first-day voter turnout supasses 2016

Jose Sanchez (left) and Brian Scott (right) create an impromptu art piece in front of South Padre Island City Hall on Oct. 13. “I want to advocate for the power of public art,” Sanchez said. “We’re just people, we’re just citizens. We’re not saying anything that any citizens wouldn’t be proud to say. Photo by Gaige Davila.

By Gaige Davila 

Almost 11,000 Cameron County residents voted on Texas’ first day of early voting, passing the 2016 general election’s first-day tally by 4,404 votes.

Remi Garza, elections administrator for Cameron County, said this year’s election brought new challenges to the electoral process, but the turnout was unprecedented.

“The overwhelming turnout on the first day of early voting was a pleasant surprise,” Garza told the PRESS in an email. “These numbers are higher than anything we have seen in the past.” 

The Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center is a voting “supercenter” in Cameron County. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Garza said wait times at most polling locations were low. In the morning, Cameron County residents voting curbside waited up to 40 minutes. At the busiest polling places, voters waited in line for around 20 minutes before casting their ballots, Garza said.

In Laguna Vista, Port Isabel and South Padre Island, wait times were almost nonexistent, with voters steadily entering and exiting polling locations in the Laguna Madre cities. Port ISabel’s polling location, at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center, is one of three “super centers” in Cameron County.

“We look forward to how many people vote during early voting, because it will be one we remember for a long time.” 

For local elections, 293 people voted in Laguna Vista’s mayoral and council election on Oct 13. For Port Isabel’s mayoral and commissioner election, 183 people voted. For the Laguna Madre Water District, 754 people voted. Data for South Padre Island’s mayoral and council races was not available on the Cameron County Elections Department website. 

In total, 277 people voted in Port Isabel; 268 in Laguna Vista; and 235 on South Padre Island on Oct. 13. 

Potential voters can vote early until Friday, Oct. 30. at any polling location in Cameron County so long as they have a photo ID. On Election Day, Nov. 3, residents must vote at their designated polling place, based on where they live. 

Port Isabel’s early voting polling place is at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center on 309 Railroad St. South Padre Island’s early voting polling place is at their City Hall at 4601 Padre Blvd. Early voters can also vote at Laguna Vista’s City Hall Board Room at 122 Fernandez St.

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