HARLINGEN — With less than 50 days to the presidential election, groups are encouraging everyone to register to vote as soon as possible.
A small group in Harlingen has created a Facebook page called Voter Action Texas, which aims to educate and promote voter registration without any party affiliations.
The group started voter registration drives Saturday and will continue to set up stations where residents can visit and register.
From Sept. 22 to 23 the group will be setting up from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then from 5 to 7 p.m. at Valley Baptist Medical Center. On Sept. 26, they will be at the Harlingen Public Library from 10 a.m. to noon and then 1 to 4 p.m.
The last day the group will be setting up will be Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon at Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church, with drive-through registration. The same day, from 1 to 4 p.m. the drive will again be at the Harlingen Public Library.
Diana Courtez Young, a retired teacher, started becoming involved in voter registration in 2016. She said she got involved with the Cameron County elections department and was motivated to visit high schools and get seniors involved.
“I asked our superintendent and he was happy to have me come over and talk to them about it. We were doing set-ups at the farmers market and Valle Vista Mall but because of the pandemic we stopped,” Young said.
Because of COVID-19, Young and her group focused on getting information online, which led to the creation of Voter Action Texas.
“We started posting information on how to get your ballots by mail if you were wanting to do that, deadlines coming up, polling places,” she said.
Nancy Fly is one of the group members who manages the Facebook page and posts information for those who need it.
“The voter information we post is for people in Texas but the registration drives are for people in Cameron County,” Fly said.
“I think it is really important to vote. Voting is your power and let people know what kind of country they want,” she said.
The hope for a good turnout is what the group is expecting for the registration drives, Fly added.
“There are about 20 of us and we decided we needed to give it one more effort and we called a couple of places and they agreed to have us,” Young said.
These are the first in-person events they have hosted since the pandemic started. Young said CDC guidelines will be enforced. Also, a few events will be drive-through stations to promote social distancing.
“I think the main goal that we have is regardless of what political party they are in, we want to have their voices heard,” she said.
“We want people to be politically aware and hopefully they’ll get engaged. We feel the right to vote is just one of the most basic fundamental values of our democracy and we need to take advantage of that. It is a privilege that we have,” Young said.
Besides providing information for those unaware, Young added the votertexas.org website is a great way of finding out if someone is registered or not.
“They can check what kind of ID they need; there is a lot of information at that site,” she said.
“Once they register, they need to go vote. If you don’t go then it’s just noise,” Young said.
Voter Registration Drives
Social Security number or State of Texas Driver’s License or state ID needed. Masks must be worn and social distancing will be enforced.
Sept. 22 and Sept. 23: from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then 5 to 7 p.m. at Valley Baptist Medical Center – Harlingen (both days). Go inside the front entrance and turn right.
Sept. 26: from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and then 1 to 4 p.m. at Harlingen Public Library, 410 76 Drive, in the courtyard.
Oct. 3: from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church at 2120 N. Ed Carey Dr. No need to get out of your car. DRIVE-THROUGH REGISTRATION!
Oct. 3: from 1 to 4 p.m. at Harlingen Public Library, 410 76 Drive in the courtyard.