Voters can cast their ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries

Here’s what you need to know about early voting in the primaries

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Beginning this Tuesday, Texans will flock to the polling stations to exercise their voting rights in the 2024 Republican and Democratic primaries.

Texas stands as one of the pivotal “Super Tuesday” states, alongside the U.S. territory of American Samoa, marking March 5 as the date for their primaries.

What sets Texas apart is its open primaries, affording voters the liberty to pick their preferred party’s primary to participate in — a choice between Republican or Democratic. However, it’s essential to note that once a vote is cast in the Democratic primary, participation in the Republican primary runoff election becomes ineligible.

The victorious candidates from the primaries will enter the battleground once more, confronting not only each other but also any third-party contenders in the upcoming general election slated for November 5th. However, should no primary candidate secure a majority exceeding 50% of the vote, the contest narrows down to the top two contenders, who will vie for supremacy in a runoff scheduled for May 28th.

March 5th marks the commencement of the electoral battle, prominently featuring presidential hopefuls at the helm of the ballot. Nevertheless, despite their initial presence, numerous contenders who had secured a place on the Texas ballot have already halted their campaigns.

One notable exception is former South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, who graced San Antonio with her presence on February 16th, rallying support for her uphill quest for the Republican nomination. In her impassioned plea, she urged, “We need you to go tell 10 people to get out and vote. Texas embodies the spirit of fighting for freedom and America, where the will of Texans remains unyielding.”

Amidst the political fervor, another significant federal contest unfolds for Texas’s junior U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Ted Cruz. A diverse field of nine Democratic contenders, including San Antonio state Senator Roland Gutierrez, is fervently vying for the opportunity to challenge the incumbent in the upcoming November general election.

What else is on the ballot?

Curious about what else awaits you on the ballot?

Prepare for a plethora of choices, spanning from Congressional primaries to the state Railroad Commission primary. Keep an eye out for nominees for the State Board of Education, Texas House and Senate, and county government positions. Within the county, voters in Precincts 1 and 3 will determine nominees for Commissioners Court seats, while all four precincts will select county constables. Furthermore, the election roster includes crucial decisions regarding Bexar County sheriff nominees.

But wait, there’s more! Brace yourself to participate in the selection of nominees for various judicial positions, including the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, 4th Court of Appeals, and District Court.

When is early voting?

Early voting commences on Tuesday, February 20th, and extends until Friday, March 1st. Throughout this period, Bexar County offers 42 voting locations for residents’ convenience. Voters have the flexibility to cast their ballots at any of these centers. Voting hours during early voting fluctuate, with polls opening daily at 8 a.m., except on Sunday, February 25th, when they open at noon. For specific details on early voting locations and hours, please refer to the provided link.

When is Super Tuesday?

Tuesday, March 5, is primary election day in Texas and 14 other states. On that day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are more than 250 voting centers across Bexar County and you can cast a ballot at any one of them. For more information, visit the Bexar County Elections Department’s homepage.

How do I know if I’m eligible to vote?

To be eligible to vote, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be a resident of the county where you submit your voter registration application.
  • You must be at least 18 years old on Election Day.
  • You must not be a convicted felon; however, you may regain your eligibility to vote after completing your sentence, probation, and parole.
  • You must not have been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

How can I determine if I’m registered to vote?

To verify your voter registration status, you have several options:

  • You can use your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID) along with your date of birth.
  • Alternatively, you may provide your Texas driver’s license number along with your date of birth.
  • If you don’t have either of the above, you can still check your status by providing your full name, county, date of birth, and zip code.

What about voting by mail?

To cast your vote by mail in Texas, you must initiate the process by requesting an application from the Bexar County Elections Department. Eligibility for mail-in voting is restricted to individuals who meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are 65 years or older on Election Day.
  • You are disabled.
  • You anticipate giving birth within three weeks before or after Election Day.
  • You will be absent from the county where you’re registered during both the early voting period and on Election Day.
  • You are incarcerated but otherwise eligible to vote.

When completing your mail-in voting application, it’s imperative to include an identification number. This can be your Texas Driver’s License number, Personal ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. It’s important to note that at least one of these numbers must match a number on your voter registration record to comply with legal requirements.

What do I need to bring with me to vote?

You need to provide one of the following seven forms of identification:

  • Texas driver’s license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas election identification certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas handgun license issued by DPS
  • U.S. military identification card containing your photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing your photograph
  • U.S. passport (book or card)

If you don’t have one of the seven forms of identification listed above and can’t reasonably get one, you can fill out a form declaring a “reasonable impediment” and bring one of these:

  • A copy or original of a government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
  • A current utility bill
  • A bank statement
  • A government check
  • A paycheck
  • A copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law that establishes your identity, which may include a foreign birth document.

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