Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It was a good day for Hidalgo County voters when Election Administrator Yvonne Ramon reported that the county’s application to implement countywide polls for the November 7 Constitutional Amendment Election was approved by the Secretary of State and Commissioners Court approved to extend voting hours at all poll locations. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during early voting and on Election Day.

Extending the hours comes at a cost of nearly $121,000, and, although the cities of Edinburg and Weslaco had said they would help cover the added expense for polls in their cities, Commissioners Court voted to cover the entire cost.

“I don’t think it would be fair to penalize the City of Edinburg simply because they pointed out the issue,” said Judge Ramon Garcia. “I fully believe we should just approve the $120,888 amount and allow our voters every opportunity to cast a ballot at the poll location of their choice.”

Representatives from the City of Edinburg had called attention to plans to have some polls open longer than others, based on past voting trends, at the Commissioners Court meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios pointed out that, with countywide polls, voters in a particular city, may not necessarily be residents of that city and would not be voting in that city’s elections.

“Although the Edinburg Annex is located in the City of Edinburg – voters casting their votes in that location are coming from all areas of the county,” Palacios said. “There’s some ambiguity in that."

In past elections, voters have been able to cast their ballots at the poll most convenient to them during early voting, but must go to their assigned poll location on Election Day. With the countywide pilot program, voters will be able to cast their ballot at the poll most convenient to them on Election Day as well as during early voting, Ramon said.

“This proved to be very favorable for Hidalgo County voters because in addition to being able to vote at any polling location on Election Day; during early voting, they will also have an additional three hours every day to cast their ballot,” said Ramon.