Cameron Co. Election Officials Prepared for New Voter ID Law Mandates

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BROWNSVILLE – Rio Grande Valley election officials said they have the voter ID laws sorted out, after its controversial identification requirements were softened.

A federal appeals court ruled this summer that the Texas Voter ID Law had to be less restrictive.

The Secretary of State sent an instructional booklet to Cameron County’s Elections Administrator Remi Garza. He said it explains all the guidelines when it comes to voter ID laws.

“When you go vote, you’ll be asked for you federal ID. And if you’ve been unable to obtain one, you can fill out an affidavit of a reasonable impediment,” he said.

That means those that are registered to vote, but do not present an acceptable form of ID, will still be able to cast a ballot if they can prove their identity. One document that will be accepted is a service bill. However, they will be required to fill out an affidavit, but their vote will count.

Cameron County’s Republican Party Chair Morgan Cisneros said she is skeptical of this method.

“It’s not a partisan concern; we should also look at the non-partisan races where a matter of 10 votes can make a huge difference,” said Cisneros. “And because of the fact that this is set up with very little terms of checks and balances, what do we do when someone comes in and someone has already voted?”

Cameron County’s Democratic Chair Amber Medina said voting is a right for everyone. She said the less restrictive mandates will make it easier on those 65 and older voters, a population that makes up a big number in the county. She added the risk for fraud can’t be eliminated entirely in any election.

“They identified over 600,000 people just in this state who did not have the form of identification. So the people are out there, and the reason the Voting Rights Act came into effect was to allow everyone the opportunity to vote,” she said.

There are about 180,000 registered voters in Cameron County at this moment. Garza said he expects the number to increase to 200,000 by the registration deadline.

The last day to register to vote for the November election is Oct. 11. People can register in person or through mail. Early voting is Cameron County will be from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4.

During early voting, people can vote at any precinct. But on Election Day, they are required to go to their designated precinct.

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