Early voting begins today, runs through April 30

The early voting period for the May Election begins today and Hidalgo County voters can cast their ballots at any of the 11 polling locations.

Six municipalities and three school districts have races on the ballot.

>> Information on polling locations run by Hidalgo County

Voters in Penitas, McAllen, Mercedes and La Villa will chose their elected officials, while voters in Weslaco will vote on a $10 million bond proposal for drainage improvements. In Donna, voters will decide on three proposed charter amendments.

The Edinburg school district will ask voters for a $220 million bond, while the Edcouch-Elsa school district is seeking two bonds: a $16 million bond to build school facilities and an $8.2 million bond for refunding a series of tax notes.

Below is an overview of all elections happening in Hidalgo County.

City of Peñitas

Voters in Peñitas will elect their mayor, along with Place 2 and 4 of their city commission.

Current mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez is running against former mayor Marcos Ochoa

Lopez is running with city councilmen Jose Roel “J.R.” Flores and Ramiro Loya. Ochoa is running with former city clerk Esmeralda Medina and Osiel Ramos, a teacher at JFK Elementary School

City of McAllen

McAllen residents will vote for commissioners in place 4 and 5.

In McAllen’s southwest district, District 4, candidates Joe Califa, a retired city planner, and Tania Ramirez, an attorney, are vying to replace long-time commissioner Aida Ramirez.

The three candidates on the ballot for District 5, McAllen’s central district, are incumbent John Ingram, Mark Murray, a South Texas College professor, and Victor “Seby” Haddad, a banker and a businessman.

>> Early voting information for the city of McAllen

City of Weslaco

In Weslaco, voters will decide on a $10 million bond proposal to fund improvements to the city’s drainage system.

After severe flooding damaged much of the city last June, city leaders borrowed nearly $4 million to begin making repairs, Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez said Monday.

The city also applied for a $4.5 million grant from the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) and an additional $10 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It might take until 2022 before the city sees any USACE funding. City leaders hope to hear within the next six months if they will receive TDEM funds, Perez said.

City of Donna

Donna residents will vote on three proposed amendments to the city charter.

The first two proposed amendment changes — Proposition A and Proposition B — involve lengthening the terms of city council members and the municipal judge from three years to four years.

According to a sample ballot found on the Hidalgo County elections department website, the third proposed change, Proposition C, involves “The removal from the city of Donna charter of unconstitutional provisions and provisions superseded (sic) by statute.”

The city’s charter has not been changed since 1994. However, when asked which specific portions are now constitutionally out-of-date or superseded by state statute and would thus be removed with the passage of Proposition C, a spokesperson for the city could not answer.

City of Mercedes

In Mercedes, voters will choose their representatives for Place 2 and Place 4 on the city commission.

Vying for Place 2 are Joe Martinez Jr., Ramon Garcia Mejia, Michelle Reyna and Leonel Benavidez.

Place 4 incumbent Rubén “Chano” Guajardo faces challengers Velda Garcia, Lucy Delgado and Jose M. Gomez.

City of La Villa

La Villa is also holding municipal elections for three seats on the board of aldermen.

Running for Place 1 are Manuel M. Hinojosa and Ricardo Garza. For Place 2 are Jesus “Jesse” Rodriguez Jr. and Joe Contreras. Seeking a seat for Place 3 are Lupe Rangel Jr. and Mario Lopez.

McAllen ISD

The McAllen school district is holding elections for place 1, 2, 4 and 5 .

Juan “Johnny” Cano is challenging incumbent Marco Suarez for the Place 1 seat.

Conrado Alvarado, the Place 2 incumbent, is running against Lynse Guerra, an attorney who ran an unsuccessful bid for Place 7 in 2017.

Incumbent Place 4 trustee Tony Forina will be running against attorney Gina Karam-Millin.

And incumbent Place 5 trustee Daniel Vela is being challenged by Don Delaney.

Edinburg CISD

Edinburg residents will decide whether to pass a $220 million bond for the Edinburg school district.

The bond would pay for a middle school, high school, two career technology centers, renovations and classroom additions. If passed, the school district could raise taxes by up to four cents.

WATCH THE MONITOR DEBATES

Watch McAllen city and school district candidates tackle the issues in The Monitor debates