True to form, Cameron County voters were slow to get to the polls on the first day of early voting in the current election for mayors, city commissioners, school board and navigation district board members.
If anything, voting on Monday may have been even slower than usual for the first day of early voting in a May election — at least that’s how it appeared to be trending early in the afternoon, according to Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza.
“It really is too early to gauge,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like a first day of early voting that we’ve seen. But the day’s still early, so we’re hopeful that there’s going to be something that gives us hope for the next couple of days.”
All county early voting sites were able to open Monday despite the heavy weather that swept through late Sunday afternoon, Garza said, speculating whether residents were busy cleaning up rather than heading to the polls Monday. He was keeping his fingers crossed at any rate that things will pick up.
“We hope that people become aware that there is an election going on, local elections for their city councilmen and mayors and school boards, that they’ll take a moment to go out into their community and cast a ballot,” Garza said. “These are important races. Every election has a direct impact on the administration of local government.”
Historically, turnout for May elections has been much lower than for November elections, he said.
“Depending on whether it’s a gubernatorial year or presidential year, it’s always going to be off by a good 20 or 30 percent,” Garza said.
But he’s waiting to see what happens.
“Maybe the candidates will be generating some additional interest in getting their message out and getting people to the polls,” Garza said. “The opportunity to vote during any election is an important one you need to take advantage of.”
We hope that people become aware that there is an election going on, local elections for their city councilmen and mayors and school boards, that they’ll take a moment to go out into their community and cast a ballot. These are important races. Every election has a direct impact on the administration of local government.
He noted that some races end in a tie and others are decided by a single vote, which makes it clear that every vote matters.
“In a representative democracy, if the citizens don’t vote there’s not a true representation of the community,” Garza said.
He reminded early voters who do manage to make to the polls that they have to vote within their jurisdictions — city of Brownsville elections within the city of Brownsville, for instance.
“This is not a true early voting where you can cast your ballots at any location,” he said. “You have to go and find them within your jurisdiction.”
A complete list of polling places can be found at cameroncountytx.gov/elections.
The last day to receive a ballot by mail is May 6 at 7 p.m. if carrier envelope is not postmarked, or May 8 at 5 p.m. if carrier envelope is postmarked by 7 p.m. at the location of the election on Election Day (unless overseas or military voter deadlines apply).