By Sheila Gilmore
If you have not been by the Courthouse to early vote, you might want to be quick and get there before 5:00 p.m. TOMORROW. Otherwise, your next opportunity will be on March 1, Election Day.
When you go to cast your ballot, there are a few things you should know in order to be prepared:
Bring a Photo ID. According to the law, you must be a United States citizen in order to vote in any election. The only way for an election worker to determine your citizenship status (and verify that you are not dead), is to see a valid ID with your picture plastered on it. A few years ago, there was some talk of dead people voting because some unscrupulous people got a hold of their voter registration cards and voted for them.
You must declare Republican or Democrat before you will be given a ballot. These are the Primary Elections: the Republican Primary and the Democratic Primary. If you vote as a Republican, you cannot vote as a Democrat and vice versa. In the General Election in November, you can vote for whoever regardless of their party, but in the Primaries, you must choose a Party.
You see, there are actually two elections taking place, in the same location on the same day (thus we call it a Joint Primary because we are making efficient use of county resources by having them together). The Republicans are choosing which Republican candidates will represent them in the General Election and the Democrats are choosing which Democratic candidates will represent their party in the General Election. Just like the NFL Playoffs, whichever candidate wins these races, will get to go to the Super Bowl of Elections – the General Election, in which we will actually choose the man (or woman) for the contested offices.
Regardless of Precinct, you will vote at the Courthouse or at the Mountain. We have, for the purposes of this Joint Primary, chosen to consolidate all the precincts into just two polling locations. Again, we are being frugal and efficient with county and state resources. So, if you live in town, you will go to the Courthouse to vote on March 1. If you usually vote at the Guadalupe location, you will go there.
Your one vote only counts on one ballot. If you choose to vote for a GOP Presidential Candidate (like Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, etc.), then you will be voting as a Republican. Once that vote is cast, you’ve used your vote for this election. If you choose to vote for one of our local candidates, you will be voting as a Democrat and will not be able to vote again in this election. Also, if there is a Runoff Election (which there probably will be), you can only vote according to how you voted by and on March 1. If you voted Republican, you can only vote Republican in the Runoff; if you voted Democrat, you can only vote Democrat in the Runoff.
These are the Primary Elections. Again, you MUST choose Party first in order to vote in this election. In November’s General Election, you can choose person over Party to your heart’s content; but not in this election.
Ready! Set! VOTE!