EDITORIAL: Register to vote by Monday for primaries, RGV

Believe it or not, it’s political season again. And Texans have until Monday, Feb. 5, to register to vote in the March 6 Texas primary elections.

Any U.S. citizen who is or will be 18 years or older on March 6 and who has not registered to vote, or who has moved since obtaining a previous voter registration card, must apply for one by Monday. Registration forms are available at most government buildings including public libraries and Department of Public Safety offices.

Likewise, any changes to voter registration certificates must be made by Monday.

Hidalgo County Elections officials have mailed out over 300,000 new, yellow voter registration certificates to registered county voters. Residents are urged to make sure all of the information on these new cards is correct and to make any necessary changes by Monday. The new registration cards are to be used in all upcoming elections through Dec. 31, 2019.

Although voters are only required to present either one of the seven eligible photo identifications or a supporting form of ID when voting, using their voter registration certificate along with an acceptable form of ID will assure a smooth and quick voting experience, Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramón says.

The upcoming party primary elections will determine the candidates for the November General Election ballots.

In heavily partisan areas like the Rio Grande Valley, which is predominantly Democrat, the primaries are crucial. A local candidate who wins the party primary might face no opposition in November, and claim the elected position by default.

This year is a midterm election; the president is not on the ballot. However, the slate of positions and candidates will be large. All House of Representative seats in both the U.S. Congress and Texas Legislature are up for a vote. In addition, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Beto O’Rourke of El Paso.

Gov. Greg Abbott and several other top state officials also are on this year’s ballot, as well as candidates for state courts, the Texas Supreme Court, Texas State Board of Education, and several other boards and commissions in the Rio Grande Valley.

For those who believe a higher voter turnout in 2016 might have brought different results, the lesson should have been learned. Let us all pledge to do our part to participate in the election process by learning all we can about the candidates and issues, and casting our ballots for the candidate we believe is the best qualified.

People who are in the minority might still not like the results of the election, but at least they will know that they did their part to ensure that our democratic process is as fair as possible.

Residents who have not yet received their voter registration certificate in the mail, or have elections questions are urged to contact the Hidalgo County Elections Department at (956)318-2570.

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