Voters head to the polls

SAN BENITO — Today, it’s Election Day.

Voters going to the polls can expect to find a higher-than-normal turnout.

That’s if the early voting numbers hold up.

Early voting for city commission and school board elections in San Benito, La Feria and Rio Hondo was higher than average.

“It is a good indication,” Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza said yesterday of the early voting turnout.

“Those communities seem to have races that are generating a lot of interest. Actually, those communities are aware of the elections and they are participating.”

Voters will be electing a mayor for San Benito, Rio Hondo and Santa Rosa.

City commission seats are up in San Benito, Rio Hondo, La Feria and Santa Rosa.

And school board seats are up in San Benito and Rio Hondo.

In San Benito, the school board races drew more early voters than the races for City Commission.

Over eight days of early voting, 1,781 people voted for four school board positions. That compares to 1,461 who voted for mayor and three City Commission seats.

Both numbers are slightly higher than the early voting turnout in 2015, when 1,570 voted in school elections and 1,302 voted in city elections, Garza said.

“It’s a slight increase, which is always positive,” Garza said.

Still, slightly more than 14 percent of San Benito’s roughly 12,500 registered voters turned for early voting in the school district races.

Historically in Cameron County, election officials see about 45 percent of the overall vote to be cast in early voting. Whether that holds true this year remains to be seen.

“We’re prepared to handle any eventuality,” Garza said.

“If we stick to historical patterns, then we’ll see that 55 percent of the overall vote on Election Day.”

In November’s elections, a higher percentage of voters turned out for early voting than on Election Day.

“That could have very easily been an indication of the expectation of Election Day being so busy, which ultimately it was. But it was not as busy as it would have been if our early voting had been just 40 percent of the overall turnout,” Garza said.