Two days left to register to vote

October 8, 2018

BROWNSVILLE — With one day left for voter registration before the Nov. 6 general election, Cameron County is seeing record interest from residents. The clock is also ticking for 17 registered voters who were impacted by the revelation that voter registrations submitted through Vote.org won’t be accepted by the Texas Secretary of State.

Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza said Friday his office had received 205,961 voter registration applications and would surpass 206,000 by the Tuesday deadline.

“ I think usually during a presidential election, we’ll see increased activity,” he said. “For a midterm, this is unprecedented.”

Garza said the Cameron County Elections and Voter Registration Office received about 40 registration forms through Vote.org, where users signed their forms by including a photograph of their signature. Most of the forms were requests to update voters’ information and were accepted, he said, but first-time voter applications were rejected.

“ It’s always been accepted practice that we should accept an original signature” under Texas law, Garza said.

The 17 people impacted were sent copies of their voter registration forms that indicated where they should sign, he said, and given stamped envelopes addressed to Garza’s office. They were also notified of the issue by Vote.org, he said, and at least one person has returned the form with their original signature.

Technology has changed what people consider a signature since the time the law was written, Garza said.

“ The initial concern was you don’t have that individual putting pen to paper and committing to the statements that are part of the process,” he said.

Garza encouraged people who have moved to update their voter information to ensure they are in the right precinct.

Residents can print a voter registration form from the Texas Secretary of State website, sign it and mail it to the Cameron County voter registration office.

A mailed form will be accepted as long as it is postmarked by the Tuesday deadline. The form can be faxed so long as the original copy is received by the voter registration department within four days, Garza said.

Even if a resident doesn’t receive their voter registration card by Nov. 6, they can still vote after showing identification, Garza added. They can also call his office to check their voter registration status.

The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Oct. 26, which means the application must be received by — not postmarked to — the Cameron County Elections and Voter Registration Department.

Early voting begins Oct. 22.

The November ballot is stacked with races that heated up over the summer. Gov. Greg Abbott is facing challenges from Democrat Lupe Valdez and Libertarian Mark Jay Tippetts. Sen. Ted Cruz is in a high-profile battle for the junior Senate seat with Democrat U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Libertarian tech company founder Neal M. Dikeman.

District 34 U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela is up against challenger Rey Gonzalez, and Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. is in a race against Republican candidate Carlos H. Cascos.

The Nov. 6 ballot will also include judicial, municipal, school board and bond elections.

Contact the Cameron County Elections and Voter Registration Department at (956) 544-0809 or online at www.co.cameron.tx.us/elections. Voter registration forms can be faxed to (956) 550-7298. the office is located at 1050 E. Madison Street, Brownsville.

Voter registration forms can be printed from the Texas Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.tx.us.

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