Election day is here. Here is everything you need to know.


Today is Election Today. It’s your last chance to influence the Democratic or Republican primaries.

While it may be a presidential election year, there are contested elections for an open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, Congress, the state Supreme Court, the Texas Legislature and more.

Texas has an open primary system, meaning you may vote in the Democrat or Republican primaries.

In solidly red counties like Collin, Denton and Tarrant, voting still matters in either primary. Just like how voting in solidly blue counties like Dallas or Travis still matters! You’re still influencing outcomes in contested primaries. You’re electing precinct chairs for both parties.

Here’s my quick guide to help you through the process:

1) Are unsure who is on the ballot? Do you even know what a primary election is? THAT’S OKAY! Because as long as you get in line by 7 p.m. at your polling place you are able to vote.

Between now and by the polls close, check out the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Texas Education Fund’s primary election voters guide, which is available in both English and Spanish.

I trust the League and respect its process. Why? Because the League reaches out to all candidates running for a state level office requesting they respond to questions that include basic background information and important issues in the state. Those answers are compiled in the candidates’ own words in the voters guide.

Candidates who responded after the print deadline are not in the print or website version, but are available at VOTE411.

2) Now you know who to vote for. Here’s what you need to vote, per the Texas Secretary of State’s VoteTexas.gov, Texas voters are required to present one of seven types of photo identification to be eligible to vote.

The seven forms of identification permitted are:

  • Texas driver license—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas personal identification card—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • Texas concealed handgun license—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. passport book or card—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Military identification with photo—unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of voting
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo
  • Election Identification Certificate (E.I.C.)

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, if you do not have one of the first six forms of identification only then may you apply for the E.I.C. at no charge. (Getting to a D.P.S. location and standing in line is a whole different story, however.)

Learn more about the getting an E.I.C. here.

3) Now, hold on. Want to participate in the Green, Libertarian or other third party elections? Then don’t vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries, said Brook Bailey, chair of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party.

“They should instead make plans to attend precinct, county, district, state and national conventions,” Bailey said.

Here are the details for the Green and Libertarian conventions.

4) Need more information? Check it:

Collin County 1-800-687-8546 co.collin.tx.us/elections

Dallas County 214-819-6300 dallascountyvotes.org

Denton County 940-349-3200 votedenton.com

Tarrant County 817-831-8683 tarrantcounty.com/eVote

—  James Russell

Karger remains in the race but focused on NH

Fred Karger

The Iowa caucus is tonight and one name that has been mentioned in very few news reports is openly gay candidate Fred Karger.

Karger is mostly sitting out Iowa but has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate. Two recent polls have him tied with Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum in that state.

The New Hampshire primary takes place Tuesday, Jan. 10.

While his bid was always considered a long shot, he is one of just eight Republicans still left in the race. Herman Cain suspended his campaign. Buddy Roemer is seeking the nomination of Americans Elect. One candidate who is not anti-gay, Gary Johnson, announced last week that he will seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party, rather than the Republican Party. Thaddeus McCotter, another candidate who has been excluded from all of the debates, also left the race.

So while Karger is a long shot, he also remains in the narrowing field along with Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Santorum.

Karger has been excluded from the debates to keep him from embarrassing the other Republicans over their homophobia.

To keep him from participating in the debates, rules were changed to refuse him a place on stage with other candidates. Those rules included raising the percentage candidates had to poll to qualify and increasing the number of polls in which a candidate had to score that higher percentage. Then polls where he scored the required 2 percent were discounted.

Still, Karger continues in the Republican race, but don’t look for him until next Tuesday.

While other candidates who don’t finish in the top three may be considered big losers in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, Karger will be considered a big winner if he finishes with more than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire or with more votes than any of the other better-known candidates.

—  David Taffet