Texas Primary 101
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Texas Primaries with an emphasis on Denton County
What is it?  How does it work? What is the impact?  Most likely you can be a delegate.  Yes, you can be a delegate!  What it all means is a way to narrow down the choices. 

The primaries are separated by party so you may also hear it referred to as the Democratic Primary or the Republican Primary.  The main purpose for the primaries is:
  - To determine who will be on the final ballot for the general election in November for elected positions from the County level to the National Level.
  - Each party suggests propositions (from party groups and clubs) to be on the November ballot.  You get to vote on these.  See the end of the ballot.

  - The season to organize and assign delegates for the political parties which is usually done in party meetings and clubs.


The March Primary Election is CRITICAL
     Important electoral races are often decided, for all intents and purposes, by the end of the PRIMARY Election in the Spring. This is partly because electoral districts are often drawn in such a manner as to provide the Republican candidate or the Democrat candidate with a distinct advantage in the General Election. Upsets do occur, but they rarely come easy. In a Republican district, the winner of the Republican Primary is most likely to win in November. In a Democrat district, the winner of the Democrat Primary is most likely to win in November. If positive change is to occur, and real challenges are to be brought against the incumbents, those challenges often need to be brought in the PRIMARY Election to be effective.
     Further, turnout in the Primary Elections in March is almost always a TINY FRACTION of turnout in the General Election in November, often in the range of only FIVE PERCENT of registered voters. In this environment, with a small turnout, a handful of energized and dedicated activists can have a MAJOR impact on the outcome--a MUCH greater impact than they can have in a high-turnout General Election.
     BOTTOM LINE : The KEY Election is in March, NOT in November. If you're waiting for November to get in the game, you're likely to be disappointed with your options when you do.

SAMPLE BALLOTS:  I really recommended that you view your sample Ballot.  See the Denton County voting page where you can search for your precinct number and see a sample of your ballot.  Be sure to read the propositions to vote on at the end of the ballot.


Early voting - In Denton County Texas, you can vote early at any of the County Early voting locations in Denton County.  Both primaries for all the precincts in Denton County will be held at each of the early voting locations but this is not the case for the Primary Election Day where the party primaries will have many different locations for precincts. 
     The EARLY VOTING location in Lewisville will be at the Lewisville Municipal Annex, 1197 W. Main Street, according to http://elections.dentoncounty.com

     Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted these dates and times ONLY:

Where to vote in Denton County Texas: visit http://elections.dentoncounty.com and click  on the left menu to see the Early Voting Locations and the Primary Election Day Locations.  Look at the precinct map and determine what precinct you are in.


Vote by Democrat or Republican in the Texas Primary? For the Primary the answer is yes.  You do not have a choice for the Primary.  Even if you consider yourself an Independent.  I do not want to confuse people by trying to make this clear so please read what I am saying here carefully.  In November, you may vote for whomever you wish, regardless of either how or even whether you voted in the primary election BUT in the primary election you have to choose republican or democrat.

    For the Texas Primaries, Texas is a two party State, however, Texans do not register by party.  A voter becomes “affiliated” with a party by voting in a party’s primary.  That is, you can only vote in only one of the primaries - Democrat or Republican. Yes, you have to choose one side or the other.  You get a ballot specifically written for your precinct which has the elected officials and referendums (if any) to vote on..

      When a voter casts a ballot in one party’s primary, they are affiliated with that party for a year (Texas Election Code Sec. 162) which is actually the next two years because party elections are every two years.  Again, this does not affect a voter's ability to vote for candidates of either party in a general or a special election.


Majority vs Plurality
Each race on the ballot is is determined by either:

  • Majority rule is a decision rule that selects candidates which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. If no majority, it goes to a runoff of the top two.

  • Plurality (most votes) is often mistaken for majority rule, they are not the same. Plurality makes the candidate with the most votes the winner, regardless of whether the fifty percent threshold is passed. This is equivalent to majority rule when there are only two candidates. However, when there are more than two candidates, it is possible for plurality to choose a winner that has fewer than fifty percent of the votes cast.


Primary Runoff Elections:  A winner of a primary must have at least 50% of the votes or there is a Runoff Election in the next few weeks.  This is to narrow down the Party choice to a specific candidate so that the candidate will be on the General Election in November.  A voter cannot vote in primary or run-off elections for any other party.  For example, If you voted in the republican primary then you can only vote in the republican primary runoff election.  This does not affect a voter's ability to vote for candidates of either party in a general or a special election.

  • Who can vote in the runoff election?

    • Texans who voted in the Republican primary can cast a ballot in the Republican run-off, and Texans who voted in the Democratic primary can cast a ballot in the Democratic runoff; or,

    • Registered voters who did not participate in either of the parties' primary elections may choose to vote in the Republican OR Democrat runoff election.

How do Delegates fit into the picture?  Who are the Delegates?  How to become a delegate?

     Texas Republicans apportion all of their national convention delegates among the presidential candidates based solely on the primary election vote. For Republicans, the winner of the Texas republican primary gets all 155 delegate votes.   Democrats apportion national convention delegates among the presidential candidates based on both the results of the primary election and a “caucus” system at local and state party conventions. For Democrats, Texas is not a winner-take-all state.

     For explanation purposes, let's use Denton County as our reference point and talk about the different levels of conventions and the delegates.

     Democrats and Republicans choose delegates to their respective state conventions through a two-step process that begins at precinct conventions immediately after the polls close. 

     The Republican Precinct Convention location is at the Primary Election Day Voting location at about 7:00 PM) for your precinct.  It most likely will not be the early voting location.  Be sure to look it up.  Anyone who voted in the primary election may/should attend the precinct convention.  The precinct convention may have a few people to hundreds and may take a few minutes to several hours.  Show up to your precinct convention and start your journey to be a National Delegate.  I would like to point out that being a delegate (or alternate) requires a commitment that you will show up and vote at the conventions and expenses are at your own expense.

     Each precinct has a designated number of delegates and an equal number of alternates that they can send to the Senatorial (County/District) Convention.   The precinct convention is just a short meeting in most cases where voters show up to state they want to be a delegate and then vote on who will be the precinct Convention Chairman, Secretary, SGT at arms, and vote on referendums.  (Referendums/Resolutions are basically suggestions to the National Party so that we can try to get them on the final November ballot.)   If you want to suggest any resolutions then please pre-print three copies and take with you to the meeting. If there are more people wanting to be a delegate than the allotted number, then the group will vote on who should represent the precinct as delegates or their alternates.  Precinct delegates and alternates are asked to attend the senatorial (county/district) conventions.

  • Precinct convention example:  Let's say that you voted in the early voting period of the republican primary or on the Texas primary election day.

    • Your voter card should be stamped republican or you should have a paper stating that you voted in the republican primary.  This information is recorded when you voted and will be verified later. [If it is not stamped, do not panic as a Driver's license can be used to check against the voting rolls that you did vote.]

    • You sign in.

    • Those that want to be a delegate will state their desire to be a delegate with a quick show of hands during the meeting.  If there are more than is allotted, then the group will vote on the ones that will be delegates or alternates. 

    • We will submit and vote on referendums. 

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