Early voting continues in Brownsville’s runoff election where two positions on the Brownsville City Commission are up for grabs — the District 3 and District 4 seats.
Monday marked the first day of early voting and 309 early votes were cast, according to results provided by the Cameron County Election’s Office.
The number of residents casting their ballot on Monday surpassed the number for the first day of the general election last month by more than 60 votes.
On the first day of early voting for the general election, which was April 19, 243 ballots were cast. On the first day of early voting for the runoff election, 309 residents voted, a difference of 66 voters.
“I think it’s still too early to tell if this trend is going to continue. I really think that we’ll know more by Wednesday what kind of a turnout we are going to expect,” Remi Garza, elections administrator, said.
“Usually, the turnout drops during a runoff, very significantly. We usually get about half of the turnout during the original election.”
For city commissioner District 3, voters will choose between Jessica Puente-Bradshaw and Roy De los Santos. Neither is the incumbent. During the general election last month, De los Santos received 876 votes while Puente-Bradshaw received 748 votes
For city commissioner District 4, residents will decide between incumbent Ben Neece and Pedro Cardenas. Last month, Neece received 588 votes while Cardenas received 677.
A runoff election was forced in both races because none of the candidates received 50% of the vote plus one.
Garza said it would be an interesting trend to think if there will actually be an increase in voter turnout day by day. When asked if he thinks the number of voters for the first day of early voting increased due to the immunization rate for COVID-19 going up, he said he thinks it can be part of it but he also thinks it is because people want to get voting out of the way to start focusing on enjoying their summer.
“There could be a number of factors, we really don’t know how much of a trend it is, until maybe Wednesday or Thursday of this week,” he said.
Garza said it is easier for voters to get in and out of a polling place because of the turnout being significantly lower than what we see in larger elections. He said there are no lines at any of the polling sites at this point and because there’s only one race on each of the district ballots it makes for quick voting
“This is a continuation of the May Election. The stakes are just as high in a runoff election as they are in the main election,” he said. “You are electing the individual that might be representing you on your city council.”
Early voting locations are: Brownsville Events Center, Brownsville Public Library, Good Shepherd Community Church, Main Office at the Cameron County Judicial Complex and the New Horizon Medical Center.
Early voting dates and times for this week through Friday are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and next Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Election Day is June 19.
For more information about voting, visit cameronvotes.org and for information about the candidates, check out these stories below: