EDINBURG – Hidalgo County Commissioners' Court recognized Yvonne Ramón, elections administrator, for her designation as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA) on Monday, August 22. This award is the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials.

CERA designation is achieved through a multi-year course of study conducted by The Election Center's Professional Education Program and completion of twelve core courses taught by the Master's in Public Administration faculty of Auburn University in Alabama. The courses range from ethics, to voter registration and elections law, planning, communications, and voter participation, among others. The intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration in promoting and preserving public trust in the democratic process.

"This is the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials," said R. Doug Lewis, director of the Center. "Of more than 21,000 elections and voter registration officials throughout America, this graduating class of 88 professionals takes us to 677 election officials who have achieved the CERA status. This is an outstanding accomplishment."

Ramón, who was appointed by Commissioners' Court in September 2008 and celebrates her third anniversary as Elections Administrator next month, received her certification at a ceremony conducted in San Antonio last week. Ramón completed a total of 12 core graduation courses in less than three years to obtain her CERA status, and is now one of only 677 election officials nationwide who have achieved this distinguished certification.

"It is my great honor to assure that the public's will is accurately reflected in our elections," Ramón said. "I see my role to dignify all potential voters and to remove as many barriers as possible to participation in the democratic process. Our office cannot be responsible for how many actually turn out for each election, but we can certainly be sure that they have the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted accurately."

The Professional Education Program is sponsored by The Election Center, a non-profit association of voter registrars and elections administrators throughout America. Its membership is comprised of township, city, county and state elections officials. The Center's primary purpose is education for local and state voter registrars and elections officials to promote and improve the democratic process.