Edinburg CISD votes 4-2 to run own elections
The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District approved the decision to change the way they run elections Tuesday night.
Instead of paying the Hidalgo County Elections Department nearly $70,000 to run them, the district is looking to spend anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 to run its elections themselves.
"As an Edinburg resident not at the capacity of a school board member—we can buy buses, we can buy computers, do improvements. We can do a lot of things with half a million dollars," said Mike Farías, an Edinburg resident, parent and school board member. "We're not in the business to run elections, we're in the business of running a school district.”
Farías says this decision poses many risks for students, as schools would become polling locations and anyone would be allowed to enter the campus to vote.
"It doesn't create a safe enviorement for our schools, especially because of the recent activities of our last elections," Farías said. "They were very violent, actual fights. I don't want that around our school districts."
Edinburg residents agree.
"It would be unsafe if they don't go through the county,” said Maria Ortega, who lives in Edinburg."
Another concern is voter fraud.
With the machines the district is looking to buy, a voter selects who they want as their candidates, then a paper is printed out by the voting machine.
The voter then turns in that piece of paper into another machine which, in turn, counts the votes.
“That vote is still a live vote. You can get that vote out of the basket and insert it in the machine and it will count again and again and again,” said Farías.
However, Edinburg CISD School Board Secretary Robert Peña Jr. thinks running the elections themselves is a great idea.
“It’s going to be good and the people of Edinburg can be assured that their votes will be safe,” said Peña, who voted in favor of the in house elections
The vote was four to two.
Four Edinburg CISD Board Members are up for re-election in November, meaning the majority of the board will be voted on using the voter machines bought by the district this Fall.