Election Day finally arrives; Administrator urges voters to vote early

MGN Online

The primary runoff elections are here and voters are set to elect candidates in the races for Cameron County sheriff, the 138 th state District Court, state senator for District 27, and Cameron County constable Precinct 1.

Elections Administrator Remi Garza encouraged residents to get to the polls early on Tuesday to make sure there’s adequate time to cast ballots. Curbside voting will be available, but Garza asked those who don’t absolutely need to use the service to walk inside if possible.

“We encourage people who have difficulty walking into the polls to utilize it. We also want to encourage those who are completely healthy and are wearing masks to please come to the polls so that you don’t tie it up for somebody that really needs the assistance,” he said.

According to the election’s office, 13,458 early ballots were cast.

County officials are expecting a surge in curbside voting requests. According to Garza, nearly 50 percent of all voters at Cameron County’s main early voting site, the Brownsville Public Library, requested curbside. “While they were able to adapt and handle that level of use, election day is a little different because you have fewer people who are working at the polling site for the precinct,” he said.

Election staff still wants residents to use the service. If walking inside would deter someone from participating in the election, officials would rather they use the curbside process. Doing so will result in longer wait times, so residents should be prepared.

Garza reminded voters to double check the location of their polling place so votes are cast in a timely manner.

“We want to encourage everyone to vote as early in the day as possible to give themselves time in case there are lines and additional people looking to vote curbside, and to be patient with poll workers,” he said.

“They’re doing their best to protect themselves and to protect the voters.”

Polling places and additional information is accessible at www.cameronvotes.org.

Staff is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and will be social distancing and wearing face masks and shields. They’ll also be working behind protective barriers. The county’s check-in procedure has been modified to ensure less contact between poll workers and voters, including the installation of new cameras that read identification and qualify the voter more quickly.

Hand sanitizers will be available and surfaces are to be disinfected frequently. Texas Secretary of State guidelines ask voters to bring their own pens.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com