By: Benjamin Treviño
Members of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce board of directors joined staff members to encourage voters to cast their ballots in the November general election. The group gathered in the chamber lobby on October 24, the first day of early voting. They wore t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “I’m ready to vote.”
The Rio Grande Valley is touted as a political hotspot, but it stands in contrast to the region’s historically-low voter turnout. When the City of McAllen chose a new mayor in May 2020, fewer than 14,000 people cast a ballot in a city of 141,968 (2019) registered and unregistered voters. That’s a total participation rate of about 10%.
“If you don’t vote, you are essentially voting, but you’re letting somebody else decide how much taxes you’re going to pay, which schools you go to, and everything else,” said former mayor and McAllen Chamber Board Chairman-elect Jim Darling.
“If we want to make changes, it has to start with us,” said Gerry Garcia, Chamber Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs. “People should be informed, and get out there and vote to make a difference.”
“Election season is important,” added Chamber President and CEO Josh Mejia. “The chamber believes that. We have the right people to advocate for it, and we look forward to seeing the results.”
Generally, early voting in person begins the 17th day before election day (if that’s a weekend, early voting starts on Monday), and ends the 4th day before election day. Election day is Tuesday, November 8.