Candidates and voters are invited to attend a meet-and-greet event hosted Thursday Nov. 1st beginning at 5 p.m. at Cilantro’s Mexican Grill and Taco Spot in The Woodlands.

Organized by the Voter Awareness Council, this reception is intended to give residents of Montgomery County a chance to engage with candidates running for office in November. Invitations were sent to all candidates on the Montgomery County ballot, according to the VAC.

“There are many new candidates that people haven’t heard of,” VAC vice president Jim Pollard said. “This will allow people to know who they’re voting for, instead of just going in and blindly pulling a lever.”

Pollard said in what has become an especially contentious election season, this will be one of the few events in the Houston area to welcome all voters and candidates.

“This election cycle is a very partisan affair,” said Faisal Amin, who is sponsoring the event.

Amin, a VAC member, said he took the lead in organizing a social get-together because it would give people an opportunity to meet different candidates and see their point of view.

“I like to think [the reception] will affect voter turnout,” Amin said. “When something is out of sight, it’s out of mind. This will increase awareness and prompt community members to vote.”

“We are trying to increase voter turnout by whatever measures we can—legal, moral and ethical,” said VAC president Steve Leakey.

The VAC’s goal, Leaky said, was to make the election process less combative and more constructive. There will be no campaigning, debates or arguments at the reception, Leakey said.

“People are disengaged,” said Leakey. “These things help them pay attention.”

Early voting is now underway for the November elections. Texans will cast their votes for a number of key races this year, including the race for governor and U.S senator. There are approximately 334,500 registered voters in Montgomery County, according to the Montgomery County Election Office.

Cilantro’s Mexican Grill and Taco Spot is located 314 Sawdust Road, The Woodlands.