Texas Primary Election Runoff: You Still Have a Say!

April 21, 2014 |

Tuesday, March 4, was Primary Election Day in Texas. The purpose of the primary election was for each political party to select its candidates for the November general election. The primary election was not decisive in several cases, so there will be a number of statewide and local runoff elections.

The runoff election will take place Tuesday, May 27 (the day after Memorial Day) and early voting will be May 19 – 23. You can apply for a ballot by mail between March 28 – May 16.

On March 4, only about 13% of registered voters went to the polls. If you missed your chance to vote, it’s not too late! Here are some quick tips:

  • If you are not registered to vote, you can register by Monday, April 28, and vote in the primary runoff.
  • If you voted in a primary election on March 4, you can only vote in the same party’s runoff.
  • If you did not vote on March 4, you can vote in either the Democratic or Republican runoff elections.
  • Your participation in either the primary election or the primary runoff has no bearing your vote in the November general election.

Austin American-Statesman columnist Ken Herman wrote this piece about Texas primaries. In a nutshell, he reminds us that Texans cannot be “registered” Republicans or Democrats because we technically do not have party registration in our state; rather, you state “party allegiance” when you vote in the primary.

This might be uncomfortable for citizens who consider themselves to be independent voters. It might be a contributing factor to low voter turnout in primary elections. Anecdotally, I talked to many people leading up to the primary election who were uncertain if they could or should vote because they thought there might be “strings attached.” Rest assured that your vote in the primaries does not label you one way or another, and you can change your party allegiance for the general elections in November and for any future primary election.

It’s not surprising that voter turnout for primary runoff elections is especially low but that just makes your vote all the more important!

Raise Your Hand Texas encourages all voters to make their voices heard for all elections. The public school students of Texas need us to act!

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

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