Hidalgo County and the Hidalgo County Elections Department has established a new policy regarding campaigning on county property to comply with the Texas Election Code.
Political signs and literature can only be handed out or placed on county owned property during the two weeks Early Voting Period from February 18th to the 28th.
Also, on Election Day, March 4th.
According to the rule, all activity must be stopped no later than one hour after the voting period ends.
"Any new rule is a big deal especially when it happens so close to the election dates," Kelly Rivera Salazar, Hidalgo County Democratic Chair, said. "So it is important for everyone to know any changes or any modification that need to make."
Salazar says that the candidates were informed of these regulations this week but that they should be familiar with them since most are already being enforced.
"For instance the candidates are not permitted to electioneer within 100 feet of county owned property and that's always been the rule," Rivera said.
Another major change is that no tractors, trailers, loud speakers or anything that is not considered to be Electioneering will be allowed at any time on county owned property. If you break these rules, law enforcement will be informed and forced to take action.
"The constable office will be notified and they will most likely be asked to leave the location for violating the rules but this is not a ground to remove someone from their candidacy," Rivera said.
Salazar says that the candidates and campaign workers need to understand these regulations.
However, she doesn't believe the changes will affect candidates' campaigns or voter turnout.
Below are the rules as stated in the policy:
- Except as provided herein Electioneering is prohibited at all times on county owned property not designated as a polling location;
- Electioneering will not be allowed at any time within 100 ft. of the polling location when that location is a county owned property in accordance with the Texas Election Code;
- Electioneering will be allowed outside the 100ft. marker at polling locations owned by the county of Hidalgo, but only during the Early Voting Period and the Voting Period and at no time before, during, or after. This means electioneering on county owned property can only take place during Early Voting Period and Voting Period. Signage and literature can only be left over night during Early Voting Period or Voting period, but not later than one hour after the Early Voting Period or Voting Period ends.