Things you should know about voting in a Texas primary election

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!

Share Button

16 thoughts on “Things you should know about voting in a Texas primary election

  1. Pingback: Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Feb. 19, 2016 | Teach the Vote

  2. Marcia Thompson

    Please tell me which candidate in Texas Senate District #24 is most in favor of funding Teacher Retirement and TRS Care. I will appreciate an answer ASAP Thank you

    1. Kate Kuhlmann

      Hi Marcia. We encourage all voters who care about public education issues to look at the information we provide at our 2016 Races page ( on each individual candidate. Voters can see voting records, candidate information, endorsements, and survey responses for individual candidates. A variety of issues, including TRS and insurance, are addressed. In the case of SD 24, you will see that only two candidates have filled out our survey questionnaire thus far: Representative Susan King and Reed Williams. The final two questions of the survey cover insurance and TRS. You will also see that, as a state representative, Representative King has a voting record to point to on public education. Included in that voting record, is a vote involving retirement benefits.

      To our survey questions on insurance and TRS, Representative King responds: “Heath care and health insurance costs have dramatically risen for everyone, not just educators. Our state must increase pay to teachers to cover this cost.” and “I support keeping defined benefit retirement plans (with cost of living adjustments) for our teachers to encourage them to make teaching a life long career.”

      To our survey questions on insurance and TRS, Reed Williams responds: “I do not agree with the premise of this question that the amount paid by the state and local school districts for teacher’s health care has lagged behind private employers. Health care has increased for all employees because health is still believed to be a free right to be provided by the employer and not an obligation of the employee. Clearly, our teachers should be allowed access to the larger risk pool provided by inclusion in the state employee system and be given more coverage options so they can tailor a plan to their individual needs.” and “The defined benefit pension plan should be maintained since many teachers do not have social security that is a defined benefit plan; however, in this era of lower interest rates and disproportional risk in equity investments, contributions by the teacher, the local school district, and the state will need to be increased to “guarantee” the same level of benefits. Teachers hired into their first job after a future date should be given the option to have the contribution from the school district and the state placed in a defined contribution plan.”

  3. Pingback: How to vote early in Brazos County primary | sue's news

  4. morganW

    I’m pretty sure you are spreading incorrect information.
    ” precinct conventions on primary election night immediately after the polls close”
    that was true in 2012 but not any more.
    Dem precinct conventions are Mar 19

    1. Jennifer Canaday

      Thanks, MorganW, for your comment. I will edit the post above to offer clarification. The parties’ delegate selection rules for 2016 indicate that Democratic precincts will caucus and choose delegates during their county/senatorial district conventions on March 19. On the Republican side, most precincts will still hold precinct conventions and elect their own delegates immediately following the primary on the night of March 1. Those delegates will then attend the Republican county/senatorial district conventions on March 19.

      Jennifer M. Canaday
      ATPE Governmental Relations Manager

  5. Pingback: Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Feb. 26, 2016 | Teach the Vote

  6. Pingback: Election Day Alert: Support public education by voting today! | Teach the Vote

  7. Jimmy Green

    Is this a true statement?

    In Texas, where the primaries are staggered, you can actually vote in all of them.

    Thank You

    1. Monty Exter

      I’m not sure what you mean by “staggered primary”. You can not cast a ballot in both party’s races in the same primary election. Once you have voted for a party in a primary election you must stick with that party for any subsequent run off that is associated with the original primary. If you did not vote in the initial primary election you MAY vote in either, but not both, parties run off election, should there be one. The affiliation you make in one primary is only good for that primary and any associated run offs. The partisan affiliation does not bind the voter in the general or in any subsequent primaries.

      Sometimes the run off associated with a March primary and a may election may be close in time to one another but they are separate unrelated elections and the partisan affiliation established in the March primary that is binding in the runoff is not binding in an unrelated may election.

      Hopefully this answers your question. If not please feel free to clarify the question here in the comments or give us a call and we will get the answer to your question.

      Monty Exter
      ATPE Gov Relations

    1. Jennifer Canaday, CAE

      Thanks for your comment. The post you are viewing is an older archived blog post from the 2016 elections. We have newer content on our blog relating to the 2018 elections, including the the primary for which early voting begins Feb. 20. I hope you’ll check it out, as well as our candidate profiles. Thanks for your interest!

  8. Chauncey Jackson

    Hey Texas Voting Rulers:

    I just want to be able to vote for the candidate that shares my political views.
    In a free, and open election, I believe that should be possible (Primary or Otherwise).
    What gives the candidates the Right to determine who votes for which party; to have to make that distinction on the fly as you show up at the voting booth?
    It seems like every voting year there’s a new twist, turn, deviation, exception, RULE.
    To be clear: Not every Democratic or Republican candidate shares my political view !!

  9. Charles A Townsend

    I think the whole process is flaud. What if you like individuals in both parties? Your voting right is blocked in that case. You don’t get to support them in both parties in the primaries. Without your support one of them may not make it out of the primaries. You are suppose to be voting for whomever you want to represent you, not for some paritie’s ideology. The two pary system, and lets face it, the independent party has little to no chance under the current voting system dynamic, the two pary system locks the voter into one side vs the other. This is not democracy. The system is rigged and the voters are forced to vote a specific way and not for the configuration the voter wants to be represented.

  10. Mark Murphy

    I really appreciate your tip to try and show a photo ID when you are voting. My wife and I have a local election in our town, and we both really want to participate. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and have our ID’s on us when we go to vote.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *