Why Voting in the Primaries Matters

Why Voting in the Primaries Matters

By Lisa Epstein, JCRC Director

The Texas Primaries are in full force; early voting began February 20 and runs through March 1. Election day is March 5.

What is the Primary Election? The Primary is the election that determines who will be on the final ballot in the November election. Each party, Democrat and Republican, present their list of candidates running for office. The voters determine who will be put forward in the final slate in November.

Why vote in the Primary? Those who vote in the Primary have an outsized impact on who is on the final ballot since only 20% of the electorate typically votes in the Primary. Those who are drawn to vote in the Primary are usually more partisan voters, resulting in candidates who are more extreme than the general electorate. We have seen and felt the results of public officials who do not represent our Jewish values. If we want qualified candidates who represent our interests, we need to educate ourselves about the candidates and to participate in the Primary election.

Do I need to register as a Republican or Democrat before voting in the Primary? No, if you are a registered voter who has not already affiliated with a party during this calendar year, you can vote in either Primary. Simply show up to vote and they will ask you which ballot you want when you check in. In Texas, we do not register with a political party when we register to vote. An example of affiliating with a party would be signing a petition for a candidate to appear on the ballot this year. If you did that, you would need to vote in that party’s Primary this year.

This link from the Texas Secretary of State should answer all your questions.

I encourage everyone to become an educated voter and venture out to the Primary election this year. Do your homework; research the candidates and their views in the newspapers and in Voters Guides such as the one provided by the League of Women Voters. Information about who is on your ballot and where to vote can be found at: https://www.vote411.org/