Valley Woman Unable to Vote in Recent Elections

4 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Thursday, May 10 2018 May 10, 2018 May 10, 2018 10:05 PM May 10, 2018 in News

BROWNSVILLE – A Rio Grande Valley woman says she didn't get to vote in the last elections.

She said her vote was a casualty of a lack of information by the county. But we learned it might not be the county’s fault.

"My mother would turn in her grave if I didn't vote. My mother would turn in her grave if I didn't do everything I could to vote," Esparza tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Voting is the most important American duty in Zulema Esparza's eyes.

She tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS rain or shine, she heads to the polls.

Esparza says last Saturday’s Election Day began as every other.  She woke up, got dressed and headed to her local polling location.

At Victoria Height's Elementary everything changed.

"It was appalling to me that the school was closed. There were no signs, no indicators as to where to go to vote," Esparza explains.

Esparza says she frantically called Cameron County’s Department of Elections.

She was told her actual polling location was 3.3 miles away at Gonzalez Elementary school.

That's a trip she wasn't prepared to make. She let the department know she wasn't happy.

"When we did receive the complaint, we did go put a sign at Victoria Heights to make sure people who tried to get there would be redirected," Garza tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Cameron County administrator Remi Garza explains each election cycle has its own number of polling locations.

He said in the primary, all 70 voting locations in Cameron County are opened, allowing Esparza and her neighbors to vote at Victoria Heights Elementary. However, in a smaller election, things change.

"Smaller jurisdictions that are holding elections like the Navigation District or Texas South most college they'll consolidate more of the precincts so they can one curve expenses," Garza explains.

Garza tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS Gonzalez Elementary was Esparza's polling location the last time this election was offered to voters. He explained the law only requires his department place signs when locations are changed in election cycles.

"Meaning if the primary election in 2016 is a different primary location from 2018, we would've posted a notice to send people to the new location," Garza explains.

To avoid the confusion, Garza recommends all Cameron County voters call his office at 956-544-0809 to learn their correct polling location before each election.

Garza adds, near the election, voters can also find their polling location on the department's website or in the newspaper.

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