Mid-term elections do not typically generate the type of voter excitement or participation as presidential elections.
However, this midterm primary election is proving to be quite different and voters in Hidalgo County, Democrats in particular, appear to be energized.
During this early voting period so many Democratic voters have already cast ballots, in fact, that Gov. Greg Abbott this week warned supporters, in a fundraising email, that the figures should “shock every conservative to their core.”
A campaign email sent Tuesday on behalf of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic who is running for U.S.
Senate against Ted Cruz, read: “Something big is happening in Texas: Democrats are voting EARLY in the primary at rates two times the rates of the most recent midterm election.”
Cruz told a group of Republican voters earlier this month that he predicted Democrats would “crawl over broken glass in November to vote.”
It’s not quite that dramatic, but in a Republican-majority state, like Texas, such voter surge is significant. And it should be viewed positively. Because candidate and partyaffi liation aside, higher voter turnout should please us all. After all, citizens are merely showing up to the polls and doing what is expected of them: Voting.
With early voting more than halfway over, more than 151,000 Democrats have already cast ballots; only 135,000 Republicans statewide have done so, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Hidalgo County citizens are to be praised, as well, for contributing to this voter upswing.
Elections officials report a huge spike in the number of mail-in ballots already received, compared to the 2014 mid-term elections.
Over 1,000 more ballots were received during the first days of early voting, which began on Feb. 20, Hidalgo County election officials said.
In fact, elections staff counted 1,352 mail-in ballots on the first day of early voting — more than double the total mail-in ballots received throughout the entire 2014 early voting period, Monitor reporter Naxiely Lopez-Puente wrote.
By Sunday in Hidalgo County, 17,044 in-person ballots were cast in the Democratic primary mid-term elections — which is 4.8 percent of the county’s total registered voters, giving Hidalgo County one of the highest percent of voters casting ballots, so far, the Texas Secretary of State’s office reported on its website. In contrast, only 1,721 Republican in-person votes had been cast in Hidalgo County, which is only .49 percent of the total 349,768 registered voters.
Let’s hope this portends a new era of voter engagement in our region, state and nation. Our country certainly needs it. Because those who complain about lawmakers and government should hold their tongue if they didn’t take the time to vote when they had the chance.
And voters must maintain this momentum, particularly Democratic voters who tend to have poorer showings during the general midterm elections, which actually decide the officeholders.
Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is March 6. For more information, go to the Hidalgo County Elections Department website at: www.
Research the candidates. Study the issues. And most importantly: Cast your ballot.