Texas’ March 5 Primary Elections are getting closer by the day, and you may have a lot of questions, like when early voting starts, if you are eligible for mail voting, how to register to vote, or maybe even when Election Day is. To help answer these questions, we present you with a little voting guide for this primary election!
First, some important dates to keep in mind:
– February 5: last day to register to vote.
– February 20: early voting begins
– February 23: last day to request for mail-in vote
– March 1: early voting ends
– March 5: Election day. Polls will be open from 7am to 7 pm.
Primary elections are used to determine which candidates will represent each party in the general election. The candidate who receives a majority, or more than half, of the votes cast in the primary election will face the candidates of the other parties in the general election. If no candidate receives a majority in the primary, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a runoff election on May 28.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas voters will have the opportunity to vote for federal, state and local officials, including:
- 1 U.S. Senator (Ted Cruz’s seat)
- 1 of 3 Railroad Commissioners
- 15 State Senators
- 7 State Board of Education members
- 3 members of the Texas Supreme Court
- 3 members of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
- 5 Chief Justices and more justices for the Texas Courts of Appeals.
You’ll also be able to vote for various representatives, both U.S. and Texas.
You’ll have to choose whether you want to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary, although some counties have a joint primary, which means everyone votes at the same polling places and on the same voting machines.
To vote, you’ll need one valid photo ID, including: a state driver’s license, a Texas election identification certificate, a Texas personal identification card, a Texas license to carry a handgun, a U.S. military ID card with a personal photo, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a personal photo or a U.S. passport.
Before voting, you should check the Texas Secretary of State’s website to make sure you are registered to vote. If you’re not registered, you can do so by submitting a paper voter registration application by February 5. You can get a voter registration application at your county clerk’s office, libraries, post offices and high schools, or request a postage-paid application be mailed to you.
You can also register to vote online through the Texas Department of Public Safety when you renew your driver’s license, if you are eligible to renew your license online.
If you change your address, you also have until February 5 to submit the change of address online, especially if you have moved to a different county. You can do it here.
If you wish, you can vote early from February 20 to March 1 at any polling place in the county where you are registered to vote. Anyone who is registered to vote may vote early, but it must be done in person unless you qualify to vote by mail.
To vote by mail, you must be 65 years of age or older by Election Day, have an illness or disability that prevents you from voting in person, be expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day, be away from your county for the entire voting period, or be incarcerated in prison and still be eligible to vote.
At the polls, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters because of an administrative problem, to receive written instructions on how to vote, to use additional ballots if you make a mistake, and to request interpretation, assistance, or accommodations in voting.
Please note that cell phones, cameras, computers, and other devices capable of recording video, images, or sound may not be used within 100 feet of the polling place. Firearms and handguns are also prohibited at polling places.