It’s put up or shut up time in Hidalgo County cities.
Election Day is upon voters Saturday as 11 local elections are on the ballots, with the county administering nine.
New this year is district-wide voting, according to the Hidalgo County Elections Department, which allows voters to cast their ballots for their local races at any polling place in the county.
The county is administering elections in the cities of Donna, La Villa, Mercedes, Peñitas, San Juan, Sullivan City and Weslaco. It is also administering the Edinburg school district bond election and the McAllen school board elections. The cities of Pharr and McAllen are administering their own elections.
Early voting in Hidalgo County attracted 19,150 voters to the polls, which includes the McAllen and Pharr tallies with the county’s totals.
City of McAllen
In southwest McAllen, 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, in central McAllen, are incumbent John Ingram, Mark Murray, a South Texas College professor, and Victor “Seby” Haddad, a banker and a businessman.
A total of 1,509 people cast ballots during early voting for the McAllen election. Residents of Districts 4 and 5 can vote at the following polling locations on Saturday, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: the Palmview Community Center for District 4 and McAllen High School for District 5.
City of Pharr
In Pharr, two incumbents are running unopposed — Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez and Place 5 Commissioner Ricardo Medina.
Meanwhile, Place 1 incumbent Eleazar Guajardo faces challenger Daniela Zuñiga. Two newcomers, Itza Flores and Lorena Singh, are vying for Place 6, which was vacated by former Commissioner Mario Bracamontes.
A total of 2,147 people cast ballots during early voting for the Pharr election. Pharr residents can visit the following polling locations Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Pharr Housing Authority for Precincts 61, 116 and 240; Jose “Pepe” Salinas Civic Center for Precincts 6, 35 and 147; Buckner Elementary School for Precincts 60 and 115; Pharr Elementary School for Precincts 25 and 36; and the Development & Research Center for Precincts 5, 122, 137, 146 and 227.
City of San Juan
San Juan voters have two city commission races to decide. Running for Place 4 are incumbent Leonardo “Lenny” Sanchez and challenger Erasmo “Eddie” Guerra. Place 5 incumbent Pete Garcia will face challengers Fernando Castillo and Marco “Markie” Villegas. These races attracted 1,807 voters during early voting.
City of Weslaco
In Weslaco, voters will decide on a $10 million bond proposal to fund improvements to the city’s drainage system. The proposal drew 236 ballots cast during early voting.
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 and an additional $10 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It might be until 2022 before the city sees any corps funding. City leaders hope to hear within the next six months if they will receive TDEM funds, Perez said.
City of Donna
During early voting, 483 people cast ballots in Donna, where residents will decide on three proposed amendments to the city charter.
Propositions A and B involve lengthening the terms of city council members and the municipal judge from three years to four years.
Proposition C involves: “The removal from the city of Donna charter of unconstitutional provisions and provisions superseded 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.
These races attracted 858 people to the early voting polls to cast their ballots.
While council members Adriana Rodriguez and Julian Peña are running unopposed, voters will decide on a proposition to dissolve the city’s economic development corporation in favor of forming a municipal development district. Thirty-two people voted here during early voting.
City of Peñitas
Voters in Peñitas will decide a mayoral race, along with Places 2 and 4 on their city commission. A total of 1,245 people cast ballots during early voting.
Current Mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez is running against former Mayor Marcos Ochoa. Running for Place 2 are Osiel Ramos and J.R. Flores, while Esmer Medina and Ramiro Loya are running for Place 4.
City of La Villa
La Villa is also holding municipal elections for three seats on the board of aldermen, which drew 658 ballots cast during early voting.
Running for Place 1 are Manuel M. Hinojosa and Ricardo Garza. Vying for Place 2 are Jesus “Jesse” Rodriguez Jr. and Joe Contreras. Seeking a seat for Place 3 are Lupe Rangel Jr. and Mario Lopez.
The McAllen school district is holding elections for Places 1, 2, 4 and 5.
Juan “Johnny” Cano is challenging incumbent Marco Suarez for the Place 1 seat. Conrado “Ito” Alvarado, the Place 2 incumbent, is running against Lynse Guerra, an attorney who ran an unsuccessful bid for Place 7 in 2017.
Place 4 incumbent Tony Forina will be running against attorney Gina Karam-Millin, and Place 5 incumbent Daniel Vela is being challenged by Don Delaney.
In total, 4,398 ballots were cast during early voting.
Edinburg residents will decide whether to pass a $220 million bond for the Edinburg school district. A total of 5,658 people cast their ballots during early voting.
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 4 cents.
To find a polling location near you, an elections map is available via the county website at: https://hidalgoelections.maps.arcgis.com/apps/LocalPerspective/index.html?appid=dc8c070622b7400e96baf8ff49455261.
County-run polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.