Get ready to go first, Texans. The country is watching

Texas will host the first primary election across the country in 2018.
Texas will host the first primary election across the country in 2018. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Texans will make history March 6.

When voters here head to polls that day to cast ballots in the Republican and Democratic primaries, they will be the first in the country to weigh in on mid-term elections.

At stake here are a number of races, ranging from fights for the U.S. House of Representatives to the battle for the Texas Legislature. Among the premier races: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s first re-election bid since being the underdog who came out on top in his unexpected 2012 victory.

The last day to make sure you are registered to vote in the election is Feb. 5.

Early voting runs Feb. 20-March 2.

After Texas, Illinois will hold the next primary on March 20.

Changing guard

Tarrant County has a new elections administrator.

Nathan Neblett, a 47-year-old who served as a U.S. Marine for 24 years, was chosen for the post earlier this month.

Previously, he served on the board of directors for a local railroad company and wrote a book, What Leaders Are, which should reach bookshelves in March.

Neblett, of Houston, replaces Stephen Vickers, who recently left the department to accept a job with Know Ink, a computer software company.

He started Jan. 2.

Protecting law enforcers

Local law enforcers will soon have rifle-resistant vests because of a law the Texas Legislature passed last year.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced recently that $23 million in grants will pay for the vests, including 1,208 in Tarrant County.

“Our policemen and women have an increasingly difficult job, and they deserve the best protective gear available,” said state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, a co-author of the legislation. “The primary author was my colleague Sen. Royce West, a Democrat. I was happy to join him and members of both parties in creating a commonsense program to invest in officer safety.”

A look at where the vests are going in Senate District 10: 260, Arlington; 41, Bedford; 40, Benbrook; 22, Forest Hill; 652, Fort Worth; 23, Kennedale; 170, Tarrant County, according to Burton’s office.

Watch out for skimmers

A new online effort has launched to help Texans and consumers across the country avoid credit card skimmers at gas pumps.

The Texas Food and Fuel Association has begun a campaign to help Texans watch out for the skimmers, devices illegally installed in pumps to steal bank information.

“Skimming is an unfortunate part of today’s technology-driven society,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in public service announcements. “If you’re concerned about a gas pump’s security, or think you’ve detected a skimmer, report it to the store management immediately.

“Convenience stores, law enforcement, and consumers in Texas all play a crucial role in preventing skimming at the pump.”

Some tips to keep your financial information safe from skimmers:

▪ Check out the pump — look for forced entry, broken security labels or unusual scratching around the door.

▪ Gently pull on the credit card reader, even running your fingernail around the keypad to make sure everything is firm and not loose.

▪ If you pay at the pump with a card, use a credit card rather than debit to avoid entering a PIN.

▪ And keep an eye on your bank accounts; report any suspicious or unusual activity.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley