Early voting begins Tuesday for the March 3 primary elections and officials and party members hope the public will got out and take advantage of the early voting time frame.
Some of the local races on the ballot include that of electing a new sheriff, district clerk and new state district court judges.
However, registered voters will not only be selecting a candidate to represent their party in the November General election but will also be voting on several propositions presented by both the Cameron County Democrat and Republican parties.
The propositions aren’t about creating legislation, but rather represent an effort by each party to feel out its constituents as part of the process of building a campaign platform in advance of November.
“It’s best to see these propositions as a way that both parties poll their membership in order to get their views on specific issues,” said Remi Garza, county elections administrator. “They have the ability to gauge how much support or how strong the support is for a given issue.”
Eleven propositions appear on the Democratic primary election ballot. Propositions 1 through 9 ask should Texans have the right to:
>>“Quality healthcare, protected by a universally accessible Medicare-style system that saves rural hospitals, reduces the cost of prescription drugs, and guarantees access to reproductive healthcare?”
>>“High-quality public education from pre-K to 12th grade, and affordable college and career training without the burden of crushing student loan debt?”
>>“Clean air, safe water, affordable and sustainable alternative energy sources, and a responsible climate policy that recognizes and addresses the climate crisis as a real and serious threat that impacts every aspect of life on this planet?”
>>Economic security, where all workers have earned paid family and sick leave, training to prepare for future economies, and a living wage that respects their hard work?”
>>“A life of dignity and respects, free from discrimination and harassment anywhere, including businesses and public facilities, no matter how they identify, the color of their skin, whom they love, socioeconomic status, disability status, housing status, or where they’re from?”
>>“Live a life free from violence — gun violence, racial hatred, terrorism, domestic violence, bullying, harassment or sexual assault — so Texans can grow in a safe environment?”
>>“Affordable and accessible housing and modern utilities (electricity, water, gas, and high-speed internet) free from any form of discrimination?”
>>“Vote, made easier by automatic voter registration, the option to vote by mail, guaranteed early and mobile voting stations, and a state election holiday — free from corporate campaign influence, foreign and domestic interference, and gerrymandering?”
>>“A fair criminal justice system that treats people equally, uses proven methods for de-escalating situations instead of excessive force, and puts an end to the mass and disproportionate incarceration of people of color for minor offenses?”
>>Proposition 10: “Should there be a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes and earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses?”
>>Proposition 11: “Should Texas establish equitable taxation for people at all income levels and for businesses and corporations, large and small, so our state government can fund our educational, social, infrastructure, business, and all government services to improve programs necessary for all Texans to thrive?”
On the Republican primary ballot, voters are asked to decide if Texas should:
>>“Not restrict or prohibit prayer in public schools.”
>> “Reject restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.”
>> “Ban the practice of taxpayer-funding lobbying, which allows your tax dollars to be spent on lobbyists who work against the taxpayer.”
>>“Support the construction of a physical barrier and use existing defense-grade surveillance equipment along the entire southern border of Texas.”
>> “Ban chemical castration, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital mutilation surgery on all minor children for transition purposes, given that Texas children as young as three (3) are being transitioned from their biological sex to the opposite sex.”
>>“Limit our state legislators’ terms to 12 years.”
>>Proposition 5 asks if “Texas parents or legal guardians of public school children under the age of 18 should be the sole decision makers for all their children’s healthcare decisions including, but not limited to, psychological assessment and treatment, contraception, and sex education.”
>>Proposition 7 wants to know if “Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site.”
>>Proposition 8 asks if “Texas election officials should heed the directives of the Office of the Governor to purse illegal voters from the voter tolls and verify that each new registered voter is a U.S. citizen.”
>>Proposition 9 asks whether “bail in Texas should be based only on a person’s danger to society and risk of flight, not that person’s ability to pay.”
Garza advises voters to familiarize themselves with the propositions before heading to their polling places.
“We want to make sure that people are aware that they’re on the ballot,” he said. “A lot of people think they’re just going to vote for specific offices. … They don’t remember that on presidential elections, more so than others, the parties use the opportunity to poll their membership, and there are a wide range of subjects that are being considered.”
The first day of early voting is Feb. 18, the last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Feb. 21 and the last day of early voting is Feb. 28. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.
For more information, call the Cameron County Voter Registration and Elections Office at (956) 544-0809.