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Things you should know about voting in a Texas primary election

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 2/19/2016

ThinkstockPhotos-485333274_VoteThe 2016 Texas primary elections are underway! As you prepare to go to the polls, here are a few helpful tips to remember. Primary election basics

  • The majority of Texas elections are determined in the primary election. This is because most Texas districts are drawn to heavily favor one party over the other. Like it or not, the reality is that candidates in the minority party typically have no chance of winning in the general election, and in some instances the minority party doesn’t attract a single candidate. Read more about races that will be decided by this year's primaries.
  • Polling locations and hours are determined locally. To find early voting locations and hours in your area, check your local newspaper or contact your local voter registrar’s office.
  • Early voting runs through Friday, Feb. 26. During early voting, you may vote at any polling location within your county, regardless of where your precinct is assigned to vote on election day.
  • Most polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. You must vote in your assigned precinct on election day unless your county has implemented county-wide vote centers. (Check your county clerk’s office or website to find out.)
  • You must show a valid photo ID in order to vote. Acceptable forms of ID include but are not limited to a valid Texas driver’s license, an Election Identification Certificate (EIC) issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Texas concealed handgun license, a U.S. military ID card, or a U.S. passport.
  • View profiles of every legislative and State Board of Education candidate using the 2016 races search tool on Teach the Vote.
  • Call or text your friends and family and remind them to vote today for pro-public education candidates. Better yet, offer them a ride to the polls!
Primaries are party specific
  • In the primary election, you must choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. The party primary in which you choose to vote now will determine the party primary in which you vote in the case of a run-off.
    • If you vote now in the Republican party primary, you are eligible to vote only in the Republican party runoff in May.
    • If you vote now in the Democratic party primary, you are eligible to vote only in the Democratic party runoff in May.
    • If you did not vote at all now—but we know you won’t let that be the case!—you are eligible to choose either the Republican or Democratic party runoff in which to vote in May.
    • The registration deadline to vote for in the primary runoff is April 25, 2016.
  • Of course, there are no such restrictions for the November general election, when every registered voter can pick any candidate on the ballot, regardless of party affiliation.
  • Consider crossover voting to support pro-public education candidates. Because voters have the option to vote in whichever primary they choose, many will vote not by party affiliation, but based on where contentious races actually exist. Consider looking at races where education issues are at stake and vote for the pro-public education candidates!
  • The Republican party in Texas will hold precinct conventions on primary election night immediately after the polls close. The meetings are an opportunity for local party affiliates to elect delegates to their party’s county or senatorial district conventions and discuss proposed resolutions to the party’s official platform. Delegates selected at the precinct level will attend the county or senatorial district convention on March 19, at which point delegates will be selected for the state party convention. On the Democratic side, precincts will caucus for the first time during the county or senatorial district conventions on March 19, rather than on election night.
  • In addition to voting for candidates, voters will have the opportunity to vote on non-binding ballot propositions or referenda. The measures are measures aimed at determining the priorities of the voters in each party’s primary and typically originate from party leadership. Republican primary voters should be mindful of proposition #3 that is aimed at taking away an educator’s right to use payroll deduction for payment of their voluntary dues to professional organizations. Read more about the payroll deduction proposition and others appearing on the primary ballots here.
ATPE urges all educators to vote during the 2016 primary election. Your vote is your voice!


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