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Early voting begins next week for Texas’ 2022 primary election runoffs

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Texas Legislature Elections TEA | Commissioner | SBOE Privatization | Vouchers Deregulation | Charter Schools

Date Posted: 5/12/2022 | Author: Mark Wiggins

Thank you to everyone who participated in the May 7 uniform local and constitutional amendment elections over the weekend!

About 1.3 million Texans voted on a pair of constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot, which gives us a total turnout figure of roughly 7.6 percent. That’s about half the turnout compared to the March primaries. In addition to deciding scores of local elections, voters approved both constitutional amendments. As a result, Texans will see the property tax homestead exemption increase to $40,000 from $25,000 and some additional property tax relief for the elderly and disabled.

But wait, because the May elections are not over!

There’s one more important election coming up this month on Tuesday, May 24, that will carry profound consequences for the Texas Legislature and statewide offices. The primary runoff elections will determine the composition of the Texas Legislature heading into a session where private school vouchers, teachers’ working conditions, and school funding will be center stage.

Just this week, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to make vouchers a priority when the legislature meets in January. This amounts to a direct assault on the public education system and Texas families. Vouchers threaten to divert public dollars away from local public schools and funnel them to private entities that have no elected oversight, public accountability, or requirements to provide parental rights.

Vouchers aren’t the only threats factoring into this election. We’ve already reported on the obscene amounts of money large PACs, wealthy individuals, and charter school interests are spending to purchase seats in the Texas Legislature and on the State Board of Education. At the same time, many candidates across the state have separately spent the 2022 election cycle campaigning against teachers — and you can be sure they will put teachers in the crosshairs if elected. Educators have few chances remaining to stop the attacks on public education that are being fomented by a small but extremely vocal minority of activists who are being amplified by wealthy donors bent on school privatization.

The next chance to advocate for your profession is when the polls open Monday, May 16, for early voting in the primary runoff elections. Early voting lasts just one week and ends Friday, May 20. Election Day is the following Tuesday, May 24.

Who is eligible to vote in the May 24 runoffs?

  • All Texas voters who registered to vote by April 25 are eligible to vote in the runoffs.
  • If you voted in the Republican primary in March, then you are eligible to vote in the Republican runoff.
  • If you voted in the Democratic primary in March, then you are eligible to vote in the Democratic runoff.
  • If you didn’t vote in either of the March primaries, then you are eligible to vote in whichever runoff you choose!
You can go to the CANDIDATES section right here on Teach the Vote to look up your district and find out whether there is a runoff in your area and to learn more about the candidates. It’s more important than ever to look at how (and whether) each candidate answered our survey questions about public education policy and see who has endorsed their race.

Because most Texas legislative districts are drawn not to be competitive in the November general election, all but a handful of races are determined by the March primary and May primary runoff elections. That means in most cases, the winner of the May 24 runoff will go onto become the officeholder.

The fight next session will not just be over how we support public education, but whether we support public education at all. Fortunately, your vote is exponentially more powerful in a runoff election because of the low number of people who typically show up to vote. Many of these elections could be decided by a single vote – maybe yours!

Mark your calendar and make a plan to vote early May 16-20, or vote on Election Day, May 24. Bring a friend or family member, as well! Remember, your vote is your voice. Let’s make ourselves heard!


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