3,685 ballots cast on first day of early voting in Hidalgo Co.

Despite pandemic, turnout larger than start of 2018 primary runoffs

COVID-19 did little to hinder the number of people who cast their ballots in Hidalgo County on Monday, the first day of early voting in the primary runoff election.

Monday’s early voting drew 3,685 ballots cast, including 3,383 voting in Democratic races and 302 voting in the Republican.

By comparison, the 2018 primary runoffs saw a total of 3,079 votes cast on the first day of early voting, on May 14 of that year. On the ballot for the primary runoff election then was the race between Andrew White and Lupe Valdez for the Democratic nominee for governor, among others.

Also of interest are 2,600 mail-in ballots cast Monday, of which 2,539 were Democratic and 61 were Republican. The first day of the 2018 primary runoff saw 1,870 mail-in ballots.

Asked what she attributed Monday’s turnout to, county Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon said via text message: “important races; responsible voters; great protocols in place…”

Voters cast their ballots Monday for candidates who will appear on the November ballot in several statewide and local elections, including for state and U.S. Senate, and railroad commissioner, among others.

On the Democratic ballot are races between state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, and Mary “M.J.” Hegar for U.S. Senate, with the winner facing U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in November; as well as Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo and Chrysta Castañeda vying for railroad commissioner, and longtime state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. facing attorney Sara Stapleton Barrera for the District 27 seat.

The race for Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 1 between longtime incumbent Charlie Espinoza and challenger Jaime Rene Chavana is also on the Democratic ballot.

On the Republican ballot are races between Ryan Krause and Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez for District 15 U.S. Representative, and Monica De La Cruz Hernandez and Ryan Krause for Precinct Chairman 96.

Early voting runs through Friday, July 10. Polls will be closed Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4, in observance of the Fourth of July. Election Day is on Tuesday, July 14.

Election Day was originally scheduled for May 26, however the date was pushed back by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 11 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

For polling locations, visit www.hidalgocounty.us/105/Elections-Department and click the tab labeled “COUNTYWIDE POLLING LOCATIONS.”

Voters are encouraged to practice self-screening for symptoms of COVID-19 before heading to polling locations. Individuals who plan to vote must also wear a mask and practice social distancing while at their respective polling locations. Masks are not being provided.