Hidalgo County early voting lagged, but voters still have today to consider presidential, state, local races

Time to decide

EDINBURG — Even though Hidalgo County cast 374 more ballots during this year’s early voting period, turnout is down nearly 3% when compared to the same time frame in 2016, according to unofficial figures released by the county’s elections department.

Still, Texans have one more chance to vote on a number of issues on Super Tuesday, including the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees for the 2020 primary.

On the Democratic side, the list of contenders continued to shrink Monday — though you won’t notice it on the ballots — as more candidates dropped out of the race.

Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg were the latest to exit the arena, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomerg to duke it out.

There are also a slew of Democratic and Republican propositions on the ballot, as well as a race to unseat Texas Sen. John  Cornyn, who is facing four Republican challengers in the primary as 12 others vie for the Democratic nomination.

Still, some of the races that often lead to higher voter turnout are the local ones.

In Hidalgo County, those races include one that has garnered national attention.

All eyes appear to be on the race for U.S. District 28 as immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros tries to unseat U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

Jessica Cisneros and Henry Cuellar

Other hotly contested races include the bid for Hidalgo County sheriff, as well as races for Texas House Districts 41 and 36.

Still, the percentage of registered voters in Hidalgo County who have cast a ballot is down when compared to 2016, the last comparable presidential primary.

In 2016, nearly 17% of registered voters cast an early ballot. This year, only 14% did.

It’s important to note that the number of registered voters between 2016 and 2020 increased by more than 61,000. But even with that 19% increase in registered voters, the county only saw 374 more early ballots cast in 2020.

The number of Republicans voting in Hidalgo County is also down. In 2016, 9,540 Republicans cast an early vote, while only 7,080 Republicans voted early this year. That’s a difference of 2,460.

Republicans also made up 18% of the total early votes cast in 2016, while this year, they only made up 13%.

Democrats, on the other hand, added 2,834 more early votes this year when compared to 2016. They accounted for nearly 87% of the early votes cast during this year’s race, as opposed to 82% in 2016.

Those figures, however, could change Tuesday as voters head to the polls once more. In Hidalgo County, ballots can be cast at any of the 73 polling locations throughout the county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

2016 Early Votes

D – 43,459

R – 9,540

Total early votes – 52,999

Registered Voters – 317,730

2020 Early Votes

D – 46,293

R – 7,080

Total early votes – 53,373

Registered Voters – 378,743