Politicians, here’s a good reason why it might not be the best idea to focus your personal-branding efforts on your first name: As Marla Cuellar, candidate for Hidalgo County judge learned this week, the font selection for the ballots might make the name you printed in big, bold letters on all of your materials look misspelled.

As the Monitor reports, the font display on the ballots has thrown a weird wrench into Cuellar’s ambitions.

In a Saturday phone interview, she said she emphasized her first name to highlight the fact that she is a woman. Cuellar, who has two opponents in the race, is the only woman running for judge in HidalgoCounty, although three candidates in various justice of the peace races are women. Eleven men are running for justice of the peace.


“When you get to the eve of early vote, and it’s incorrect and they’re telling you ‘sorry, it’s the font,’ it’s just unbelievable to me,” she said.

Regardless of appearances, because the ballot officially contains the right name, no legal issues should arise, Garcia said. Even if a legal problem existed, it would be too late to change anything on ballots for either Election Day on March 4 or early voting, which begins Tuesday.

Hopefully for Cuellar, voters who misread “Marla” as “Maria” on the ballot will remember her first name, and be inclined to read the ballot a bit closer to be sure they’re voting for the right person.

Cuellar’s challenges are only one of the quirky issues facing early voters in the Rio Grande Valley. Voters who wanted to cast an early ballot in Pharr at the Memorial Civic Center—”the second most popular early voting location” in the region, according to The Monitor—faced a different sort of problem: Namely, that an adult day care was holding a dance in the middle of early voting hours.

[Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene] Guerra said he went to the Jose Pepe Salinas Memorial Civic Center in Pharr because he received phone calls about an adult daycare holding a dance in the building. The civic center is the second most popular early voting location in the Rio Grande Valley.

Guerra said he wanted to make sure the rule prohibiting electioneering within 100 feet of the polling location was not being violated.

“The daycare said it was not political, but my concern was since it was within 100 feet, they wouldn’t be able to separate campaigning from the dance,” Guerra said. “Also the music might have been interfering with the voting.”

Ultimately, all’s well that ends well: The dance ended at 1:30pm as scheduled, and voters interviewed reported no interference.