By JACOB LOPEZ
The Cameron County Department of Elections is going to be handling City of San Benito and San Benito Consolidated Independent School District elections.
SBCISD Business Manager Emma McCall said, “That’s what’s been proposed. The (city) commission has approved it, and our (school) board has approved it.”
McCall said that the County originally proposed the idea. “Their numbers looked favorable, and it would take a big burden off our office … it’s a lot of extra work,” she said.
“Any allegations,” said McCall, “if they (voters) think that there’s something that’s not being done right, they would have to address the County.”
San Benito City Secretary Lupita Passement said, “according to the Texas Election Code, the City Secretary is the Election’s Administrator, and handles the elections for the City.”
However, Passement said, “We have options … for example, to contract with the County.”
Chris Davis, Cameron County Elections Administrator “volunteered and asked if we wanted to go with the County,” said the City Secretary.
According to Passement, “It will also be much cheaper (to contract the County) to handle the elections.” This is because the City and SBCISD will both be contracting the County, thus sharing costs.
“It’s a lot of work,” said Passement of the elections regarding the burden lifted off her shoulders when it comes to counting the votes.
“It takes the politics out of us,” said Passement. “We’re always in the center – I’m always in the center,” she added. Still, she said she is often accused of choosing sides.
“Now, it’s completely out of my hands. I still take the applications for the candidates,” explained Passement.
Davis also proposed the plan to the Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District.
Steve Bearden, Port Director at the Navigation District said that until someone files their application, before the Feb. 27 deadline, he does not know if there will be an election. However, he added, “If we have an election, we will contract it to the County.”
Davis said, “I’m glad that both (the district and the city) have given the County an opportunity to offer our services and administer their elections.”
According to Davis, the County was asked, “and we were able to propose to both governing boards – the school board, in the business of running the school, and the city commission (running) the city. We’re happy to lend our expertise.”
Davis expects the county to work efficiently and consolidate resources, which will ultimately “make it easier for the voter.”
Costs will also be shared. “(Individual) costs will be lowered,” said Davis, echoing the city secretary’s comments.
“We hope this (contracting with the County) will continue for a while,” he said. “That’s what this department is for.”
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