Hundreds of Rio Grande Valley residents cast their vote on Tuesday– the very first day of early voting.
There are 29 early voting locations in Hidalgo County and 27 in Cameron County.
However, Hidalgo County residents are required to vote electronically on a voter’s machine.
“There is various and very, very strict testing that goes on with electronic voting,” said Hidalgo County Elections Administrator, Yvonne Ramon, who assures voters that the machines are secure and cannot be rigged. “The testing that goes through, the rigorous amount of testing these machines go through, but that’s not enough. Once they pass those standards, they have to pass state standards so then they are put through more rigorous testing more in line with the state.”
There are only three vendors that are licensed and approved to sell voting equipment in the state of Texas. The machines are inspected before any voting, according to Ramon.
With national criticism aside, Hidalgo County voters say they don’t mind the electronic voting.
“The machines were excellent, an excellent new system,” said Edinburg resident, Gilbert Saenz, who voted at the Hidalgo County Annex. “They were very fast, very self-explanatory, a great investment that the county made with these machines.”
“I prefer the machine ballot,” said Judy Carceno, “It’s faster and it’s easier, more convenient.”
Hidalgo County is the only county in the Rio Grande Valley that allows voters to vote at any polling locations, not just the precinct they’re assigned to.
“I feel proud that we are able to do this,” said Ramon, ” We’ve worked very hard for this opportunity, since 2008 I’ve been trying to do this and now a voter will never get turned away because they find themselves at the wrong location 5 minutes before they close on election day.”
Hidalgo County residents tell CBS 4 Valley they’re happy with how convenient this is for them.
If you’re heading to the polls, be sure to have some form of photo identification with you.
You must also be registered to vote before arriving to a polling location.
For a list of all early voting locations, along with dates and times they are open, click here.