Hidalgo County's plan on voting centers nixed

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POSTED: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 4:47pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 8:22am

A plan to change elections in Hidalgo County will not move forward. The plan called for creating vote centers. These centers would accept voters from any area in the county, and these voters would no longer be bound by the limits of their neighborhood.  

"There's a reason why this was pilot program, and the reason is because you have to try things out," said Hidalgo Co. elections administrator Yvonne Ramon. "We definitely were not in a position where the county was ready." 

The hope was to test the plan this November during an election year with typically low voter turnout. The idea was brought to the McAllen City Commission and there was pushback.  

"The concern we had as a city commission was we didn't really have time to study the plan," said Commissioner John Ingram. "It kind of came to us at the last minute. I would've liked to have understood it a bit better." 

County leaders didn't have to bring the plan to the city level for feedback, but understood it would have been difficult to make the program a success without city approval.  City officials like the idea, but couldn't sign off without knowing the vote center locations were ideal. 

"I think it's a very good idea in the sense that anyone can go vote and not have to worry about showing at the wrong voting site," Ingram said. "The commission is very appreciative of the county coming to us and asking us what we thought." 

Ramon said the plan would've increased voter turnout because it makes voters' lives easier. And she isn't giving up.  

"I'm sure the future holds vote centers for Hidalgo, but it won't be this November," Ramon said.

In November, Ramon said Hidalgo County plans on passing out questionnaires at polling places to help support her case.    

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