Early voting begins for March 6 primaries

February 20, 2018 - 9:07 am

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- Early voting is now underway for the March 6 primary elections.

For contested races, primaries allow voters the opportunity to decide which candidate will represent the party on the ballot in November's general election. Senator Ted Cruz, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott are up for re-election, along with Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick. Each incumbent is facing Republican challengers as well as Democrats.

Adding to the ballot are several U.S. and Texas House seats, with incumbents opting not to run for re-election. In one of the most notable cases, Rep. Lamar Smith is giving up his 21st Congressional District seat after more than 30 years. The race to replace him has drawn some 18 Republicans and 4 Democrats.

Early voting runs through Friday, March 2, with Election Day on Tuesday, March 6.

Texas is an "open primary" state, meaning you can cast a ballot for either party in the primary. You can only vote in the same party's runoff, if a runoff is held (if one candidate fails to gain 50% plus one vote). Any runoff elections are scheduled for May 22.

To cast a ballot, you will need one of these seven types of photo identification, per Texas' Voter ID law:

  • A state driver's license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • A Texas election identification certificate (issued by DPS)
  • A Texas personal identification card (issued by DPS)
  • A Texas license to carry a handgun (issued by DPS)
  • A U.S. military ID card that includes a personal photo
  • A U.S. citizenship certificate that includes a personal photo
  • A U.S. passport

If you don't have one of those seven types of identification, you can still cast a ballot. You will have to sign a form swearing a "reasonable impediment" that prevents you from obtaining the appropriate identification. If you are claiming the impediment, you will need one of these types of identification:

  • Valid voter registration certificate
  • Certified birth certificate
  • A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the voter’s name and address (any government document that contains a voter’s photo must be an original)

Travis County will host 25 early voting sites (details here), while Williamson County will have 14 sites and a mobile site (details here). Voters in Hays County will have a number of sites to choose from, depending on when you want to vote (details here).

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