Texas Secretary of State Stops in El Paso for Voter Education Tour


April 9, 2024


Education, News, Politics


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(EL PASO, Texas) – Early voting officially kicked off on Feb. 20 with Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson’s Voter Education Tour at the El Paso County Courthouse. For nearly two months, Nelson has been touring counties across Texas to inform and prepare registered voters for the upcoming primary election set to take place on March 5.

2024 is turning out to be a highly contested year not only for the two candidates running for president but locally as well. Two of the democratic races are for El Paso County sheriff and district attorney. The nominees in those races will then head to November’s election.

On Feb. 20, Nelson was joined by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, Commissioner David Stout, and Elections Administrator Lisa Wise. Samaniego introduced Nelson and made it a point to highlight the low voter turnout the county has experienced in past primaries. In 2022, only 104,135 El Pasoans cast their ballots during early voting.

“Nearly 18% of registered voters cast their ballot in the 2022 primary, with 55% early voting and 45% voting on election day,” the Texas Tribune reported.

“My goal is to make sure that every qualified Texan who wants to vote has all the information they need to cast a ballot,” Nelson said. “Votetexas.gov is the official website from my office with all the voting information you need.”

The secretary went on to mention the seven types of approved forms of identification in order to vote in-person. “Texas driver’s license, a Texas personal identification form, a passport, a Texas handgun license, a military identification card, which I’m sure would be the case for many here (referring to Fort Bliss soldiers), citizenship certificate or a Texas election identification certificate,” she said.

If an individual is unable to vote using these seven types of IDs, they can also request at the polls what is called a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration.” This is an alternative form of identification using a utility bill or bank statement, according to Nelson.

Those seeking to vote by mail must be 65 years or older, disabled or sick, expecting to give birth within three weeks of Election Day, or will be outside of the county during early voting or Election Day.

There are more than 17.9 million registered voters in the state with 500,000 registered voters in El Paso County, according to the Texas Secretary of State website. Nelson said Texans should make a plan before heading out to the polls and inform themselves about the candidates and propositions before arriving to vote.

In September 2023, Texas’ Senate Bill 924 went into effect. The law requires counties that are enrolled in the countywide voting program to set up additional voting locations on Election Day, according to Votebeat Texas. A Texas election administrator said that being able to combine polling sites gave them the ability to serve more voters who were casting their ballots. Some worry that the new law would strain their budget and their ability to serve the community.

Nelson addressed the issues some counties were experiencing. “Some parts of the state, some counties, have more people, more interested people, and aren’t having the difficulties that others are,” said Nelson. “At the county level, they’ve done a very good job to make sure they have the men and women power that they need.”

The Click spoke with some voters who have and have not cast their ballot, and the importance of going out to vote.

“If we don’t like the way things are handled this is how we let our voices be heard,” said Veronica Vallejo, who cast her ballot on the first day of early voting. “It’s a very important election, starting with the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office.”

Eric Jones, a resident of El Paso County, who had not yet voted when he talked to The Click, said,  “If we don’t vote or do some of the other things that help build laws or policies. We might get nothin’ that we want.”

Early voting runs from Feb. 20 to March 1 with Election Day on March 5, according to the El Paso County Elections Department.

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