Early voting for primary runoff begins today

05/18/2014 10:58 PM

05/21/2014 10:35 AM

Dig out your voter cards and photo IDs.

For the third time this year, it’s time to head back to the polls.

True, city and school elections just wrapped up, but early voting for the May 27 primary runoff election kicks off today, giving Texas voters a chance to weigh in on a dozen races left unsettled from the March primary election.

“I expect it to be a little slower because of voter fatigue,” said Stephen Vickers, chief deputy elections administrator in Tarrant County. “But there’s a lot of interest in some of the races. I heard some people ask during [the local] May elections, ‘When do I get to vote in the lieutenant governor race?’ ”

In the March primary, 42,209 Democrats and 96,441 Republicans went to the polls in Tarrant County.

Statewide, more than 1.3 million Republicans voted; more than 550,000 Democrats voted.

Election officials are encouraging Texans to go back to the polls.

Local Democrats have three races to cast ballots in, topped by the U.S. Senate race, while Republicans have nine, topped by the battle for lieutenant governor.

“If you voted in a party primary or participated in a convention, you can only vote in that same party’s runoff,” Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry said. “If you did not vote in the March 4 primary, you may still vote and can vote in the runoff election for either party.”

Tarrant County voters may go to any of the county’s 40-plus early-voting sites.

Early voting runs through Friday.

Photo ID

Texas voters must bring a photo ID — a driver’s license, state-issued personal ID card, concealed handgun license, military card, citizenship certificate with photo or passport. Any license that’s expired must not be expired for more than 60 days.

Anyone without a valid photo ID may get a free election ID card, which is available at any driver’s license office.

In past elections, some concerns arose about voters’ names not identically matching on a person’s voter registration card and photo ID. Those people are allowed to sign an affidavit stating they are the same person if the versions of names are “substantially similar.”

Anyone voting by mail does not have to submit a photo ID. People with a documented disability may apply at their county voter registrar for a permanent exemption from the requirement, election officials say.

And any people showing up at the polls to vote who don’t have a photo ID are given a chance to go home and bring the ID back.

If they don’t, they may cast a provisional ballot. But to make sure that vote is counted, they’ll have to take a valid photo ID to the elections office within six days after the election. If they don’t, the ballot will not be counted, officials say.

On the ballot

On May 27, voters will finally determine which candidates move forward to the November general election in around a dozen races.

Democrats will settle one local, one statewide and one federal race.

They’ll choose between David Alameel and Kesha Rogers for U.S. Senate, Jim Hogan and Richard “Kinky” Friedman for agriculture commissioner, and Erika Beltran and Andrea Hilburn for State Board of Education, District 13.

Republicans have more races on the ballot.

Locally, GOP voters will choose between Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, Ken Paxton and Dan Branch for attorney general, Sid Miller and Tommy Merritt for agriculture commissioner, Wayne Christian and Ryan Sitton for railroad commissioner and Patricia “Pat” Hardy and Eric Mahroum for State Board of Education, District 11.

Also on the Republican ballot: Konnie Burton and Mark Shelton are vying for Senate District 10; Atticus Gill and Carey Walker are seeking judge, County Criminal Court No. 2; Bob McCoy and Alexander Kim are squaring off for judge, County Criminal Court No. 3; and Russ Casey and Lenny Lopez are running for justice of the peace, Precinct 3.

“This election is a chance for voters to select party candidates for the Nov. 4 election,” Berry said.

Sample ballots and a list of Election Day polling sites are online at star-telegram.com/elections. For more information, call Tarrant County Elections officials at 817-831-8683.

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