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Voting season has begun, with 24 conveniently-located early voting polls across Hidalgo County! All early voting locations will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from October 18 through October 29, except on Sunday when the polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The primary benefit to voting early is that people can vote at any poll location within the county” said Yvonne Ramón, Hidalgo County Elections Administrator. “So if you live in Donna, but work in Mercedes, you can choose to vote in either place. On Election Day, November 2, you are required to vote in the precinct where you live.”
Registered voters should try to bring their baby-blue voter identification card to the polling location with them; however, if it is lost or misplaced, other forms of identification will be accepted to verify your registration.
• a driver's license or personal identification card issued to you by the Department of Public Safety or a similar document issued to you by an agency of another state, regardless of whether the license or card has expired; • a form of identification containing your photograph that establishes your identity; • a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;• United States citizenship papers issued to you; • a United States passport issued to you;• official mail addressed to you, by name, from a governmental entity;• a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address; or• any other form of identification prescribed by the secretary of state. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Hidalgo County tallied 279,979 registered voters. Only 17.2 percent of the registered population cast a ballot — 20,823 during Early Voting and 27,418 on Election Day.
However, this year, the Hidalgo County Elections Department and Hidalgo County Public Affairs partnered with the Equal Voice Network, a coalition of ten Valley non-profits, and the Secretary of State’s Office, to educate and register voters. Motor Voter took voting machines to targeted precincts across Hidalgo County with high levels of registration but low turnout to attempt to increase the amount of voters. The VOTEXAS tour at McAllen’s Palmfest on October 3, which featured Secretary of State Hope Andrade, intended to raise awareness about voting rights and capture last-minute registrants.
Hidalgo County has 297,291 registered voters for this 2010 General Election, and as long as the applications received daily have an October 4th postmark, the elections department will continue to process them.
“We have worked hard to prepare for this very important election, and our hope is that more people will take advantage of this privilege granted to them. We have worked hard to educate our people about when and how to vote, too, but the why is up to them,” Ramón said. “Each person has their own reasons for who they vote for and why they vote, and whatever their reason, we just hope that people exercise their rights.”