18 Feb Texans: Time to weigh in early on the 2020 presidential rac…
All right, Texans: It’s your turn now.
Attention across the country first focused on Iowa, then New Hampshire.
While Nevada and South Carolina still have to weigh in, the spotlight is shifting to Texas and more than a dozen other Super Tuesday states where voters head to the polls March 3.
And it’s shining especially bright on Texas, which has 261 delegates to offer Democratic presidential candidates. That’s why the Lone Star State has long been considered the crown jewel of Super Tuesday.
“Texas should be a big player on Super Tuesday,” said Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, who heads the political science department at the University of North Texas in Denton.
Traditionally, Texas had little or no voice in the presidential primaries because the races have essentially been decided by the time voters headed to the polls.
Texans did have a voice in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, when Barack Obama and HIllary Clinton crisscrossed the state, and in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, when a slew of candidates campaigned especially hard in Tarrant County and North Texas.
But this year, Texas could have a very loud voice in the Democratic presidential primary race.
“Texas may not be the deciding state, but I suspect that we will have a front-runner on Super Tuesday night,” Esbaugh-Soha said. “And Texas’ Democrats will play a major role in selecting who that is.”
Tarrant voters will weigh in on more than just the presidential race, though. There is slew of local races stretching from Congress to the Texas Legislature to the courthouse.
Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 28.
Here’s a few things for voters to know about early voting.
A large number of voters, perhaps even half of those who will turnout this primary season, are expected to head to the polls during early voting.
And election officials encourage voters to cast their ballots early if they can.
“You have more choices,” said Heider Garcia, Tarrant County’s elections administrator. “If life takes a turn, and gets in the way, you have another chance to vote in early voting or on Election Day.”
▪ To vote in Texas, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 17 years and 10 months old (and 18 by Election Day), mentally sound and not a convicted felon unless the sentence has been completed, including parole or probation.
▪ Voters will find new voting equipment. The new machines have a touchscreen where voters can review the ballot and make their choices. The machine will print a list of the choices made, which will be placed in a scanner.
▪ Tarrant County was approved last year for countywide vote centers that let residents cast ballots at any polling place in the county, rather than at just one assigned polling site, on Election Day. A list of vote centers is online at tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.
▪ Bring a current photo ID to the polls. The seven state-approved photo IDs: Texas driver’s license, Texas election identification certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas license to carry a handgun, U.S. military ID card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo, and U.S. passport.
▪ Anyone who needs a ride to the polls can get one for free. Tarrant County officials OK’d spending as much as $20,000 to give voters rides on Trinity Metro’s fixed-route bus, ACCESS paratransit, Tarrant County Transportation Services (TCTS), Northeast Transportation Services (NETS), Arlington’s Via and Handitran.
For information about voting, call the Tarrant County Elections Center at 817-831-8683.
Where to vote
Early voting runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 24-28.
- Tarrant County Elections Center, 2700 Premier St., Fort Worth. This is the main early voting site.
- Arlington Subcourthouse, 700 E. Abram St.
- Asia Times Square, 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie
- Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Drive
- Benbrook Community Center, 228 San Angelo Ave.
- B.J. Clark Annex, Room 4, 603 Southeast Parkway, Azle
- Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center St., Arlington
- Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington, 4002 W. Pioneer Parkway,…