Feb. 1 is the last day to register to vote for the March 1 primary election, when Texas voters will select their party’s nominees for the presidential and local county races.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is partnering with the Texas Freedom Network and the elections offices of
Cameron and Hidalgo counties to conduct deputy registrar training this week.
Volunteer deputy registrars may distribute and accept voter registration application forms from any resident of their respective county.
In Edinburg, the training will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Bronc Room. In Brownsville, the training is scheduled from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Student Union’s Gran Salón.
In the presidential race, Democrats seeking the nomination are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Vying for the Republican Party nomination are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson of Florida, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina of Virginia, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and businessman Donald J. Trump.
Those who win their party’s nomination will be on the November General Election ballot.
Early voting in the primary election begins Feb. 16 and ends Feb. 26 statewide. Polling locations and times can be found in each county’s website.
Remi Garza, Cameron County elections administrator, said there will be more polling sites this year than in previous primary elections.
“We will have more locations that are open for longer periods of time than the last presidential election,” Garza said. “Numerically, it seems like we reduced it but actually we’ve increased it because they’re open longer in the areas that they’re open. There are going to be more opportunities to vote than the 2014 and 2012 elections.”
As of last Wednesday, there were 184,378 registered voters in Cameron County, Garza said.
Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramón said there more than 28 polling locations. The early voting polling sites are still pending and will be presented to the Commissioners Court for consideration on Tuesday.Brenda Renteria, Hidalgo County elections GIS operations manager, said the county has 315,463 registered voters.
However, the number of people who end up voting does not always match, Ramón said. Not all of the registered voters cast a ballot during the primary election.
“For some reason,” Ramón said. “People wait until General Elections.” She said one of the benefits of early voting during the primary election is that voters can cast a ballot at any poll site, compared with Election Day, when they must vote in the precinct where they are registered.
Ramón encourages students to vote, especially since there will be polls on campus.
“It’s important that each voter selects their party before voting,” Ramón said.
“So, be prepared to choose a party.”
Aaron Flores, sports management graduate student, believes Trump and Clinton will win the nomination of their
“I believe it’ll be between Trump and Hillary, and from those two, whichever person wins, hopefully, that person will be realistic with the American people and portray a good sense of direction for its people and overseas, the policy and public affairs with different presidents and governments,” Flores said. “Hopefully, they’ll get along with everyone.”
Mechanical engineering junior Daniel Mejia is an international student from Venezuela who said it is important to vote. Mejia can’t vote; however, he encourages others to vote because they can.
“Truthfully, it is very important for the citizens to vote,” Mejia said in Spanish. “You can’t vote and the next day say that the government is wrong or that it’s not functioning. It’s a way of expressing your opinion. For me, the elections are very important, especially because I’m from Venezuela. Venezuela’s government right now is not the best for us.”
For more information on requirements for registering to vote, visit the Texas Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.tx.us.