While the March 6 Texas primary elections may be over, several races still don’t have a clear winner. So what happens now?
Welcome to the runoffs.
What sends a primary election to a runoff?
If no candidate in a primary receives at least 50 percent of the votes plus at least one additional vote, the top two vote-getters go head-to-head in a runoff election. For 2018, primary runoffs are scheduled for May 22.
Are there runoffs in general elections?
No. There's no required 50 percent threshold for a candidate to win a general election race, which means the candidate who gets the most votes wins.
When is the voting period for the runoff?
Early voting for the primary runoffs will take place from May 14 through May 18. Election Day is May 22.
Why are runoffs so much later than the primaries?
After the primary, the secretary of state’s office has up to 30 days to certify the votes.
Under the Texas Election Code, runoff elections can't be held earlier than the 20th or later than the 45th day after the final canvass of the primary votes is completed.
So, in which 2018 primary races will there be a runoff?
According to the latest election results from the secretary of state’s website, more than 30 races are headed to the primary runoffs. Here are some of the ones to watch at the state level:
- Primary for governor —Democrats Lupe Valdez and Andrew White
- House District 46 — Democrats Sheryl Cole and Jose "Chito" Vela
- House District 8 — Republicans Thomas McNutt and Cody Harris
- House District 121 — Republicans Matt Beebe and Steve Allison
- House District 54 — Republicans Scott Cosper and Brad Buckley
Here are some of the ones to watch at the local level:
- Cherokee Co. Commissioner Pct. 4 - Billy M. McCutcheon and Bob Parrott
- Nacodoches Co. Judge - Greg Sowell and Mike Perry
- Nacogdoches Co. Commissioner Pct. 4 - Darren Cook and Mark Harkness
- Upshur Co. Judge - Mike Spencer and Todd Tefteller
- Upshur Co. Commissioner Pct. 2 - Dustin Nichols and Richard Ridgeway
- Upshur Co. Commissioner Pct. 4 - James Still and Jay W. Miller
Municipal election is set for May 5, and primary runoffs are scheduled for May 22, 2018.
Below you'll find links leading you to your polling place, according to the precinct listed on your registration card.
Our partners at the Texas Tribune have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.
How do I know if I’m registered to vote?
April 5 is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming elections. Click here to see all important election dates.
Don’t know if you’re registered? Check the Texas Secretary of State’s website. All you’ll need to do is enter your full name, birthdate, zip code and the county you live in.
Of note: There’s no way to register online in Texas, but if you want to make sure you’re set for future elections, you can register in person at your county voter registrar’s office or by filling out a voter registration application online, printing it and mailing it to your county’s registrar.
Can I vote for either party?
Yes, because Texas is an open-primary state. This means voters can decide every two years whether they’d rather help pick the Republican or the Democratic nominees (or hold out and go to third-party conventions).
Of note: Whatever primary you decide to vote in, you can only vote in that same party’s runoff, if a runoff is held. You can also vote for either party's candidate in the general election.
What form of ID do I need to bring to the polls?
If you’re confused about what ID to bring to the polls for the 2018 election, you’re probably not alone. The legal wrangling over the state’s requirements has turned rather complicated. Here are the seven types of photo ID that will be accepted at the polls for the primaries:
- A state driver's license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- A Texas election identification certificate (issued by DPS)
- A Texas personal identification card (issued by DPS)
- A Texas license to carry a handgun (issued by DPS)
- A U.S. military ID card that includes a personal photo
- A U.S. citizenship certificate that includes a personal photo
- A U.S. passport
So, what if I don’t have one of the seven approved forms of ID?
If you have qualifying photo ID, bring it. But if you don't, you can still cast a ballot.
Voters who do not have any of those documents and cannot “reasonably obtain” them can still cast a vote if they sign a form in which they swear that they have a “reasonable impediment” from obtaining appropriate identification.
Those voters will also have to present one of the following types of ID:
- Valid voter registration certificate
- Certified birth certificate
- Copy or original of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document that shows the voter’s name and address (any government document that contains a voter’s photo must be an original)
A “reasonable impediment” can include a lack of transportation, disability or illness, family responsibilities or lost or stolen identification, among other things. And election judges may not question a voter about the reasonableness of a claimed impediment.
The “reasonable impediment” declaration forms will be available at each polling location. Voters are not expected to fill them out ahead of time, Taylor said.
Our partners at the Texas Tribune contributed to this report.