Monday is the last day to register to vote in the November election as one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in modern history awaits on the ballots, along with congressional and senatorial races in addition to judicial, school district and city seats up for grabs.

The stakes are high as public policy affecting long-term health care is perhaps among the issues many Americans consider paramount in the age of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 209,000 Americans and infected over 7 million — President Trump among them. An ailing economy is also at stake.

As of Sept. 29, there were 386,272 people registered to vote in Hidalgo County, surpassing the total number of voters in 2016 when there were 338,990 registered. In the 2016 November election, 176,160 ballots were cast for a 51.97% turnout.

In Hidalgo County, 48,642 people voted for Trump in 2016 for 27.89% of the vote while his Democratic opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, secured 68.12% of the vote with 118,809 ballots cast in her favor.

Local voters will also be deciding two state representatives in Districts 20 and 41, and a U.S. congressional seat in District 15.

To register, residents must fill out a voter registration application, print it and mail it to Yvonne Ramon, Elections Administration, PO Box 659, Edinburg, TX 78540. The application, as well as sample ballots, can be found at the Hidalgo County website.

Those wishing to register must be U.S citizens, residents of the county in which the application for registration is made, and be at least 17 years and 10 months old — since they must be 18 by time of voting. The individual must also not be finally convicted of a felony, or declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.

Voting by mail is expected to increase this year due to the pandemic, and the deadline to apply for mail-in ballots is Oct. 23. Election officials must receive the application by that date.

Those who qualify to vote by mail include people 65 years old or older, those who will be out of the county throughout early voting and on Election Day, those ill or disabled, and those who are in jail and are eligible to vote.

So far, the county has sent out about 15,000 mail-in ballot applications.

Mail-in voting applications must also be printed and mailed to the same address.

This election marks another nuance in Texas as straight-ticket voting will not be allowed, as voters will not be able to cast a ballot for every candidate in one party.

Early voting begins Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 30. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.


Voter registration resources

Register to vote:

https://www.hidalgocounty.us/525/Voter-Registration-Application

Check if you’re registered:

https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

Register to vote by mail:

https://www.hidalgocounty.us/524/Application-for-Ballot-by-Mail

Find your sample ballot:

http://apps.co.hidalgo.tx.us/SampleBallotLookup/