Voting can be complicated — people often find themselves unsure of where to go, what to bring and what's on the ballot. Don't fear. We've put together this guide with what you need to know to vote on March 3 in the 2020 primaries in North Texas.
There are several Democratic and Republican primaries on the Texas ballot, including for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House. There are also primaries for seats in the Texas Senate and Texas House, as well as countywide positions.
Among the high-profile battles: a dozen Democrats are running for U.S. Senate, while incumbent Republican John Cornyn faces four challengers who aren't well-known; the 24th Congressional District features several Republicans and Democrats after Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant announced his retirement; and several Democratic presidential candidates have been criss-crossing the state and opening campaign offices.
The number of registered voters in Texas has grown significantly since the last presidential election.
As of January, Texas had 16.1 million registered voters — that's an increase of 2 million voters since 2016, according to Stephen Chang with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
The Texas Tribune has been tracking early voting totals in the state's biggest counties each day.
If you're registered and have a valid form of ID, you're ready to head to the polls. If you're not sure whether you're registered to vote, check right here. You'll find voting times and locations below.
Voters in Dallas County can vote at any polling place on Election Day. You do not have to vote at a specific precinct.
Check out this list of Election Day voting centers to find the most convenient place. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
DART will offer free rides to the polls on Election Day to anyone carring a valid voter registration card.
Tarrant County voters can also vote at any polling place in the county. Use the interactive map or check out this list to find an Election Day voting location. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Six transit services in Tarrant County are offering free rides to the polls: Trinity Metro’s fixed-route bus, ACCESS paratransit, Tarrant County Transportation Services (TCTS), Northeast Transportation Services (NETS), Arlington’s Via and Handitran.
Collin County voters have been able to vote at any polling place in the county since 2013. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find a list of Election Day voting locations here.
Denton County registered voters must vote at their precinct polling location on Election Day. Type in your address here to find your polling location. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rockwall County voters also must vote at their precinct polling location on Election Day. Type in your address here to find your polling location, or check this list of Election Day voting locations. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
» MORE NORTH TEXAS COUNTIES
Get voting information at the following county websites:
VoteTexas.gov has everything you need to know about what to bring to vote in person. One of seven forms of ID will get you into a voting booth:
- Texas driver's license
- Texas election identification certificate (EIC) issued by the Department of Public Safety
- Texas personal ID card issued by DPS
- Texas handgun license issued by DPS
- U.S. military ID card containing your photograph
- U.S. citizenship certificate containing your photograph
- U.S. passport, book or card
» What if your ID is expired?
That's OK, to a degree.
- For voters age 18-69: Except for the U.S. citizenship certificate, which doesn't expire, the ID you bring to the polls must have expired no more than four years before.
- For voters 70 and older: You can use one of the seven forms of ID to vote, regardless of how long it's been expired, as long as it's otherwise valid.
» What if you don't have one of the seven acceptable forms of voter ID?
The state lists other forms of identification, like a utility bill or birth certificate, that you can use to vote if you don't "possess an acceptable form of photo identification, and cannot reasonably obtain one."
In addition to presenting that secondary form of ID, you'll also need to fill out a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration" form.
» What if you're a voter with special needs?
A person of your choice or an election worker can assist you at the polls — but the person cannot be your employer or someone who represents your employer, or an officer or representative of your union.
If you're physically unable to enter the polling location, you can vote curbside. Send someone into the polling location to request an election worker meet you at the curb. If you're planning on arriving alone, call ahead to your county's elections office.
Despite a number of Democrats recently dropping out and President Trump seeming to have no significant competition for the Republican nomination, there are a slew of names on the presidential primary ballot in Texas.
Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente - He's the son of Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente Guerra running in the Republican primary.
Sanders leads the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of Democratic presidential candidates in Texas.
There are a number of Democrats and Republicans attempting to unseat incumbent Republican John Cornyn and join Ted Cruz in representing Texas in the U.S. Senate.
All 36 U.S. House districts in Texas are up for election. Your address determines your congressional district. You can find your district and who's running on your county website or via the League of Women Voters' "See What's On Your Ballot" tool.
Here are a few of the key congressional races in North Texas:
»Texas' 24th Congressional District
The fight to replace retiring Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant is one being watched around the country. This North Texas district includes parts of Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.
»Texas' 32nd Congressional District
Five Republicans are challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Colin Allred, who is the only Democrat on the ballot.
»Texas' 12th Congressional District
Republican Rep. Kay Granger, the most senior woman in her party in the U.S. House, is being challenged by Chris Putnam. As The Texas Tribune reports, the race is being thought of by some as a battle between the traditional wing of the Republican Party and President Trump's newer faction.
Learn more about the race from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
»OTHER NOTABLE RACES
The Texas Tribune has a full rundown of all the state-level races and list of candidates. There are races for railroad commissioner, the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the State Board of Elections, Texas House and Texas Senate.
All 150 Texas House districts are up for election this year. You can find your Texas House district and the other races you're eligible to vote in on your county website or via the League of Women Voters' "See What's On Your Ballot" tool. Here are some of Texas Tribune's races to watch in our area.
Morgan Meyer (Incumbent)
There are 16 Texas senate seats up for election. You can find there's a reace in your Texas Senate district on your county website or via the League of Women Voters' "See What's On Your Ballot" tool.
In our area, there's a race for Texas Senate district 12 that covers most of Denton County and part of Tarrant County. Two were Democratic challengers are vying to take on incumbent Republican Jane Nelson, but the state Democratic party has determined Randy Daniels is ineligable to run. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, Daniels' name will remain on the ballot, but no votes for him will count
Randy Daniels | Shadi Zitoon
We still may not know who all the general election candidates are after March 3. When no candidate in a contest receives more than 50% of the vote, that race will head to a runoff.
If we're faced with runoff elections, here's a list of key dates to note, via the Texas Tribune:
April 27: This is the last day to register to vote and be eligible to cast a ballot in the primary runoffs.
May 15: This is your last day to request a ballot to vote by mail for the primary runoff. In order to vote by mail, you have to meet certain conditions.
May 18: Early voting in the primary runoff begins. Keep in mind that voters can only participate in one party's primary each year. If you voted in the Democratic primary in March, for example, you can't vote in the Republican primary runoff in May.
May 22: Early voting in the primary runoff ends.
May 26: This is primary runoff election day, your last chance to have a say in whom the Republicans or Democrats nominate in any races that went to a runoff. Make sure to show up at your local precinct, unless your county is participating in countywide voting. You can find this out by checking your county's website.
July 13-16: Delegates will convene at the Democratic National Convention to officially select and nominate their presidential ticket. Normally, a single candidate breaks from the pack and effectively clenches the nomination before the actual convention. But it is possible that no one wins a majority of delegates in the primaries. At that point, the party would have a contested convention on its hands.
Aug. 24-27: The Republican National Convention will convene to officially select its ticket. Barring any developments, President Donald Trump is expected to lead the ticket on the Republican side of the ballot.
»NOVEMBER GENERAL ELECTIONS
Nov. 3 is the big day where we'll be voting for the next U.S. president and a variety of national, state and local representatives. Here is a timeline of key dates for the November general election, via the Texas Tribune:
Oct. 5: This is your last day to register to vote for the general election.
Oct. 19: Early voting starts in Texas. You can check your county's website for information about polling locations.
Oct. 23: This is your last day to request a ballot to vote by mail for the primary. In order to vote by mail, you have to meet certain conditions.
Oct. 30: Early voting ends.
Nov. 3: Election Day. If you didn't vote early, now is your chance. Make sure to show up at your local precinct, unless your county is participating in countywide voting. Again, you can find this out by checking your county's website.
KERA's Bill Zeeble and The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.
Personalized voting information widget courtesy of The League of Women Voters. The organization does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.