Your primary election vote is turbocharged
Date Posted: 2/23/2022 | Author: Mark Wiggins
Few voters are turning out to vote in the 2022 Texas primary elections. That means those who show up to the polls have even more influence over who is elected.
Statewide early voting turnout for the 2022 primary elections appears to be about on par with turnout at this point during the last midterm primary elections in 2018. By “on par” we mean abysmally low. That comparison comes with a few caveats, however.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 22, 3.46% of Texas voters had cast ballots in the Republican primary and 2.12% in the Democratic primary for a combined turnout of 5.58%. The numbers are according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website and include mail-in ballots, although the actual number of mail-in ballots may be a little unclear.
This year’s numbers appear to be keeping pace with what we saw in 2018. Combined turnout at this point in 2018 was 5.2% among the state’s 15 most populous counties. Statewide, a total of 17.17% of registered voters cast ballots in the 2018 midterm primary elections, many of whom voted on Election Day.
By comparison, 25.36% of Texas voters turned out to vote in the 2020 presidential primary elections. Turnout is typically higher during presidential election years, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
It’s often tempting to try to draw conclusions from the differences in turnout between Republican and Democratic primaries. For example, does higher turnout in one party’s primary imply an advantage heading into the general election? That question is difficult to answer because there are many factors that may influence turnout in a primary election, such as the relative number of competitive races.
The bad news is that it looks like Texas continues to suffer from dismal turnout in both parties’ primary elections. The silver lining is that lower turnout makes your vote even more impactful!
Due to the partisan gerrymandering of our voting maps – meaning the districts are drawn in a way that favors one party over another – the vast majority of legislative seats will be decided during the primary elections underway right now. Each person who votes in this year’s primary elections will have a disproportionately large impact.
Let’s put it into mathematical perspective. Roughly a million people have voted as of Tuesday. Their votes will largely decide who controls state government and writes the laws that will govern all 30 million Texas residents!
Your vote has never been more powerful than it is at this moment. Find a sample ballot at your county election site or at vote411.org (which also has other helpful information), and then research your candidates’ education positions here on Teach the Vote. Early voting in the Texas primaries continues through Friday, Feb. 25, and Election Day is March 1. Now go vote!
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