Early voting in the Texas primary election begins on Tuesday, February 16. Presidential, Congressional, Texas statewide, and local races are on the ballot along with some propositions.
Here is a link to the Texas Secretary of State website for a list of the 2016 March primary election candidate filings by county. You have the option to click on a link that shows a ballot for candidates for: both parties, the Democratic Party only, and/or the Republican Party only. Note that some of the candidates may have withdrawn after the time for the ballots to be submitted under Texas law, as in both the Republican and Democratic presidential primary races. A county commissioner in Harris County, Commissioner El Franco Lee, is on the ballot although he passed away after the deadline for the county clerk to submit the ballot.
Sample ballots can be found by going to the county clerk website of your particular county. For example, in Harris County, the website of Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart has sample ballots for the Republican and Democratic primaries. There is also information relating to early voting polling locations, voting by mail, and military and overseas voters.
Statewide races on the ballot include contested races for Texas Railroad Commissioner, three positions on the Supreme Court of Texas, and three places on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
In one of the Texas Supreme Court races, Rick Green faces incumbent Paul W. Green. The two women justices on Texas’ highest court are also facing challengers. Democrats have recruited candidates to run against the sitting Republican Texas Supreme Court justices.
There are several U.S. congressional and Texas state representative races where sitting Texas Republican and Democratic elected officials are being challenged in their own primary.
There are positions on the intermediate appellate courts in the state, including open seats. There are also civil and criminal district court and county court benches, district and county attorney races, county tax assessor-collector, county school trustee, county commissioner, justice of the peace, constable, precinct chair, and county Republican and Democratic Party chair races.
Phil Gommels, a Republican candidate for criminal district court judge in Harris County (Houston) told Breitbart Texas, his race for the 178th court is the most crowded county-wide race in Harris County, with four candidates vying for the bench.” Gommels continued, “Often when folks head to the polls in a presidential year, they stop short of voting the entire ballot. But the job of a district court judge is much more likely to affect a voter personally than just about any other elected official.” He urged, “During early voting, I hope a lot of people turn out to exercise their right to vote, and I hope they vote all the way down the ballot.”
There are four propositions on the Republican primary ballot. They address replacing the property tax system, prohibiting governmental entities from collecting dues for labor unions, and requiring Texas cities and counties to comply with federal immigration laws or be penalized by loss of state funds. There is also a proposition about Texans strongly asserting the Tenth Amendment rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. These propositions are non-binding but are intended to send a message to elected officials as to constituent priorities.
Likewise, the Democratic primary ballot contains six referedum items. The first entitled “On Economic Security & Prosperity,” asks about raising the minimum wage to a livable wage, equal pay for equal work, guaranteeing paid family leave, fully funding public neighborhood schools, and making a debt-free community college education available for all “hardworking students.”
There are also referendums on the Democratic primary ballot relating to a fair criminal justice system, transforming energy to effect climate change, and passing the new Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Democratic primary referendum #5 asks if the Texas legislature should allow each public institution of higher education (not just private), to opt out of campus carry.
Referendum #6 also asks Democratic primary voters whether Congress should “pass a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes an earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses.”
The last day of early voting for the primary is Friday, February 26. The primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 1. The last day to receive a ballot by mail for the primary election is on election day.
Dana Waller Hodges, Associate Director for Concerned Women for America of Texas told Breitbart Texas, “Each and every race is vitally important to the success or failure of our counties, our state and our nation. While many will turn out to vote in the Presidential Primary, I urge everyone to not neglect the down-ballot races such as county commissioner, county attorney or sheriff races. These races are often overlooked but can, in many cases, directly effect us more than the presidential race. I encourage voters to educate themselves on where each candidate stands on the issues and not simply vote for a candidate because they recognize a name from campaign signs or mailers.”
Breitbart Texas has provided Texans with a basic guide on where to go to find out how and where to participate in the Texas primary, primary runoff, and November elections.
Primary runoff elections are scheduled in Texas for May 24. The last day to register for the primary runoff election is Monday, April 25.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2