Today is the final day for residents to register to vote for the Texas primaries.
This year, the state will be one of 14 holding either elections or caucuses on Super Tuesday.
With Texas Republicans sending 155 delegates to their national convention and Democrats sending 252 to theirs, voter turnout for the primaries will play a huge role in which candidates will end up on the November ballot.
This year’s primary ballot will be chocked full of candidates running for more than 20 different state, local and federal offices.
With ramped up political theater in the GOP race, in conjunction with an early March 1st primary with other states, many are predicting a high voter turnout in Texas. “I think we could definitely see turnout going above a million, and possibly up to 2 million or 3,” says Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, “because it has been a very competitive race. We have a competitive and open seat for the president, which is generating more candidates for the Republican and Democratic side of things, we’ve got competitive congressional districts that are going to be in play for the democratic side of things. We also have a competitive sheriff’s race which I think will also drive out turnout among Latinos.”
However, with about 155 GOP delegates up for grabs, Rottinghaus believes more Republicans will show up at the polls.
“Texas is the first place—(the) belt-buckle—on the Republican primary season,” says Rottinghaus. “There are lots of delegates at stake for the Republicans and we’re going to see a lot of candidates coming here to spend time and money. The state will be hopping with more Republicans than usual as the campaigns send surrogates and buy ads in Texas and Houston will be the epicenter for much of that.”
And that’s a big reason, according to Tom Berg, of the League of Women Voters in Houston, why Texas voters should not take this primary for granted. “Some of these races get decided by 10 or 15 votes, says Berg. “Especially in the primaries where they’re really close and you’ve got party activists who are out there voting. So an individual vote really does matter.”
Berg says the LWV plans to publish an online state and local voter guide next Monday to help Texans learn more about each candidate running for office.
You can register to vote at any local library, post office or Tax Assessor-Collector office branch location. You can check your voter status by clicking here.
Early voting is February 16th through the 26th.