Cameron County election official expects high turnout for Tuesday's primary runoffs

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Runoff elections will be held Tuesday in the Democratic and Republican primaries, and election officials anticipate there will be a good turnout given the number of early votes that were cast during the one week of early voting.

"We think we are going to see an increase in runoff participation for this election. Our early voting numbers already clearly indicate that we are looking at getting almost 60 to 70% of the voters return," said Remi Garza, administrator for Cameron County's Elections and Voter Registration Office. "We are hopeful that we will see close to 5,000 or 6,000 people casting their ballots" Tuesday.

Unofficial early votes show 10,702 votes were cast with 8,762 for Democrats and 1,940 for Republicans.

Garza said the high voter turnout in the runoff election can be attributed to candidates getting their message out. In addition, with every election, election officials are seeing more voters head to the polls.

For weeks advertisements for political candidates have aired on television and in print media. Candidates have also been campaigning holding their own local events.

Garza stressed that during Tuesday's runoff races voters can only vote in the party they voted in during the March primary election.

For example, if you voted Democrat in the primary election, you must vote Democrat in Tuesday's runoff election. You cannot cross party lines and the same goes for the Republican runoff election. You must have voted Republican in the primary to vote Republican in the runoff election.

"Texas has an open primary system meaning that every two years you can affiliate with whichever party you chose, but once you affiliate with a party you have to stay with that party for that election cycle," Garza said.

The Texas Election Code considers it a crime and it is considered a felony offense.

If you did not vote in the primary election, you can vote for either political party in Tuesday's primary runoff elections.

In the November general election, voters can vote for whichever candidate they like.

Democratic runoff races with local interest include state senator, state district representative, state board of education, justice of the peace and county commissioner seat.

State Board of Education, District 2 race will be between Victor Perez and Pete Garcia. The State Senate District 27 race has Sara Stapleton Barrera going up against Morgan LaMantia. The State Rep. District 37 race will be between Ruben Cortez and Luis Villarreal Jr.

The Cameron County Commissioner Precinct 4 has incumbent Gus Ruiz being challenged by J.V. Garcia and the race for Cameron County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 is between Elizabeth Garza and Cyndi Hinojosa.

Other Democratic runoffs for state offices include that of Lt. Governor between Mike Collier and Michelle Beckley; Attorney General between Rochelle Mercedes Garza and Joe Jaworski; Comptroller of Public Accounts between Angel Luis Vega and Janet T. Dudding; and General Land Commissioner between Sandragrace Martinez and Jay Kleberg.

Republican runoff races of local interest are those for precinct chairs.

The Precinct 15 chair race is between Rosalinda Cantu and Stacy Slovak; the Precinct 46 race is between Luis H. Cavazos and Maria Estella Gomez and the Precinct 54 race is between Maggie Ozuna, Robert Camacho Jr. and Christian Alonzo Juarez.

Other Republican runoffs for state offices include Attorney General between George P. Bush and Ken Paxton; General Land Commissioner between Dawn Buckingham and Tim Westley; and Railroad Commissioner between Wayne Christian and Sarah Stogner.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.