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Politics

Your Voting Guide For North Texas' 2020 Primary Runoff Election

AP_20181569711276.jpg
David J. Phillip
/
Associated Press
Harris County election clerk Jose Mendoza watches over voting booths, Monday, June 29, 2020, in Houston. Early voting for the Texas primary runoffs began Monday.

Voting is complicated during a typical election season, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more confusing. From what’s on the ballot to where to vote, here’s a helpful guide on what you need to know to vote on July 14 in North Texas’ runoff elections. 

The primaries were originally scheduled for May, but Gov. Greg Abbott delayed them until July and doubled the length of the early voting period due to the coronavirus.

Following the March primaries, the runoff elections include some hotly-contested races like the Democratic runoff for U.S. Senator between candidates Royce West, a Texas state senator from Dallas, and MJ Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot. The winner will face incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn. 

Not sure whether you’re registered to vote? Check here

What Is Being Done To Make The Polls Safe?

State leaders have largely left it up to local officials to set up safety precautions, but the Texas secretary of state's office has some recommended guidelines for voters and county governments. According to The Texas Tribune, the eight-page document suggests voters bring their own hand sanitizer and wear face masks, bring their own marking devices — like pencils with erasers — and consider voting curbside if they have symptoms of COVID-19. (Voters unable to enter polling places are allowed to ask a poll worker to bring a ballot to their cars parked curbside. The state recommends voters call ahead before requesting this option.)

Local voting officials have stocked up on sanitizer and protective gear while also considering plastic shields for check-in stations at polling places. The state has also recommended that they place markings on the floor to help people maintain social distancing in lines and place voting booths at least 6 feet apart.

WHERE TO VOTE & WHEN

» DALLAS COUNTY

Voters in Dallas County can vote at any polling place on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You do not have to vote at a specific precinct. Use the interactive map

» TARRANT COUNTY

Tarrant County voters can also vote at any polling place in the county on Election Day. Use the interactive map. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

» COLLIN COUNTY

Vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters have been able to vote at any polling place in the county for several years.

» DENTON COUNTY

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. 

» MORE NORTH TEXAS COUNTIES

Get voting information at the following county websites:

WHAT TO BRING TO THE POLLS
Seven forms of acceptable ID to vote in Texas
Credit VoteTexas.gov
If you don't have one of these forms of ID, you can bring a supporting document like a utility bill or paycheck and fill out a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration" form at your polling place.

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?

Remember that a person of your choosing or an election worker can assist you at the polls. The only exception is that person can not 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 even vote curbside. Send somone 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.

How Did The Coronavirus Affect Mail-In Voting?

The Texas Tribune reported that the pandemic has stirred a legal fight over mail-in voting in Texas. Democrats sued the state hoping to expand voting by mail as a safer alternative to in-person voting during the pandemic, but the Texas Supreme Court ruled in late May that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus alone does not qualify a voter to apply for a mail-in ballot.

“We agree with the State that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code,” the court wrote in May.

Texas voters can qualify for mail-in ballots if they are 65 years or older, have a disability or an illness or are confined in jail, according to the Texas secretary of state's office. Those who will not be in the county where they registered on Election Day and throughout the early voting period also have the option to request a ballot by mail.

WHAT'S ON THE BALLOT

»STATEWIDE

  • U.S. Senator - Democratic Runoff

Mary "MJ" Hegar | Royce West

  • Railroad Commissioner - Democratic Runoff 

Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo | Chrysta Castaneda 

»COLLIN COUNTY

  • Judge, 401st District Court - Republican Runoff

George Flint | Sarah Fox

  • Criminal District Judge, Dallas County Number 3 - Democratic Runoff

Audra Ladawn Riley | Teresa Jan Hawthorne

  • U. S. Representative, District 3 - Democratic Runoff 

Lulu Seikaly | Sean McCaffity

  • U.S. Representative, District 24 - Democratic Runoff 

Kim Olson | Candace Valenzuela

  • State Representative, District 67 - Democratic Runoff

Lorenzo Sanchez | Tom Adair

  • State Representative, District 100 - Democratic Runoff

Jasmine Felicia Crockett | Lorraine Birabil

»DENTON COUNTY

  • Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals District, Place 7 - Republican Runoff 

Elizabeth Beach | Brian Walker

  • District Judge, 431st Judicial District - Republican Runoff 

Derbha Jones | Jim Johnson

  • U.S. Representative, District 24 - Democratic Runoff 

Kim Olson | Candace Valenzuela

»TARRANT COUNTY

  • County Constable, Precinct 5 - Democratic Runoff 

John Wright | Pedro “Pete” Munoz

  • Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals District, Place 7 - Republican Runoff

Elizabeth Beach | Brian Walker 

  • U.S. Representative, District 24 - Democratic Runoff 

Kim Olson | Candace Valenzuela

Learn More About Candidates:

U.S. Senate candidate Royce West has previously worked on police reform and criminal justice issues. 

Read the full story by KERA’s Bret Jaspers. 

MJ Hegar has been the front-runner throughout Texas' Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate. She first launched her campaign by fighting for military combat roles for women. 

Read the full story by KUT’s Ashley Lopez. 

In the Democratic runoff for Texas' 24th Congressional District, retired Air Force Colonel Kim Olson will face off with Candace Valenzuela, a member of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch district school board. 

Read the full story by KERA’s Syeda Hasan. 

The Railroad Commission of Texas might be one of the most powerful government agencies you’ve never heard of. That’s because, despite the name, the commission regulates the Texas oil and gas industry.

In this year’s primary runoff election, two Democrats are vying for a chance to run for a seat on the commission: Chrysta Castañeda and Roberto Alonzo. Both candidates point to their resumes as a reason for your vote.

Read the full story from KUT's Mose Buchele.

Got a tip? Email Elizabeth Myong at Emyong@KERA.org. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Elizabeth_Myong.

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