2014 Primary Election is Too Important to Miss

January 31, 2014 |

Primary election season is here! Don’t miss this important opportunity to make your voice heard through your vote.

Why do primary elections matter so much? In Texas, primary elections are hugely significant in determining who our elected officials will be. Many of our statewide and local races are one-party competitions, with little or no opposition on the November ballot.

Only about 15% of registered voters turned out for the 2012 Texas primary, less than half of the 2008 primary participation. When you consider the low turnout for primaries, you can understand why those who do show up to vote have great influence over the outcome.

The 2014 primary election is coming up soon on Tuesday, March 4. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, February 3. You do not have to declare a party affiliation when you register to vote, but if you vote in the Republican or Democratic primary on March 4, then you can’t vote in the other political party’s runoff election (if needed).

As a volunteer deputy registrar for Travis County, I spent some time earlier today registering people to vote at a PTA meeting. Some people weren’t sure if they needed to register because they’ve already done so in the past. (You don’t unless you’ve moved.) One woman wasn’t sure she was eligible to register. (You must be a U.S. citizen and resident of the county in which you’re registering; at least 18 years old on Election Day; not a convicted felon or you’ve completed your sentence, probation or parole; or not declared mentally incapacitated by a court.) And a few attendees just needed reminders about the date for the Primary Election. I was happy to register new voters, answer questions, and encourage everyone to get out and vote.

Answers to additional questions can be found on the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections and Voter Information web page.

If you don’t vote in the primaries, you are missing a big chance to determine your state and local elected officials. Make sure you take the time to get registered and vote. We must speak up about what we value–including public education–at the polls!

Casie Wenmohs
Former Raise Your Hand Texas Community Ambassador
Austin & Central Texas

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