SAN ANTONIO – Voters in San Antonio and across the state will be headed to the polls Tuesday for the Texas Primaries.
The Republican and Democratic parties will hold elections to nominate candidates for their respective parties.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the primary (i.e., 50 percent of the votes plus at least one additional vote), the top two vote-getters will compete in a primary runoff May 22.
The winners of each party will face off in the November general election.
Election Day polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Who will I be voting for?
Texas has the earliest primaries in the country this year and has an unusually high number of prominent open races.
For both parties, the race for U.S. Senate will be at the top of the ballot. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is vying against four other Republicans in his bid for re-election, and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, is the most well-known of three Democrats aiming to unseat Cruz.
Eight Texans in the U.S. House aren't running for re-election, which has led to some packed races to replace them, including 18 Republicans and four Democrats running for the seat U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, has held for more than 30 years.
There’s also expected to be competitive Democratic primaries for at least three congressional seats. Republican U.S. Reps. John Culberson of Houston, Pete Sessions of Dallas and Will Hurd of Helotes have emerged as top targets for Democrats in November.
Watch KSAT 12 News and log on to KSAT.com for the latest election results and comprehensive coverage throughout the evening. Be sure to join us for a livestream from 7:30-8:30 p.m. featuring KSAT 12 News anchors Steve Spriester and Myra Arthur, who will be joined by former state Rep. Mike Villarreal and editor in chief of the San Antonio Current, Greg Jefferson, for a look at the latest results and analysis.
In each district, several Democrats are vying to be their party’s nominee, including District 23, where Gina Ortiz Jones or Jay Hulings are expected to face Hurd in November.
At the state level, nine candidates are crowding the Democratic gubernatorial primary, with the highest-profile being former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Houston entrepreneur Andrew White, son of late Texas Gov. Mark White. Republican Land Commissioner George P. Bush is running for re-election and facing three primary challengers including Jerry Patterson, who previously held the job.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans, are up for re-election and facing primary challengers. So are Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, all of whom are Republicans.
All of the seats in the Texas House of Representatives and half of those in the Texas Senate are up for re-election.
On the Republican ballot, incumbent state Rep. Lyle Larson is being challenged for his District 122 seat by Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails, who has been endorsed by Abbott.
Also on the GOP ballot is the race for District 121 state representative, where the incumbent, Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, decided not to run for re-election. Business attorney Steve Allison and former San Antonio City Councilman Carlton Soules lead a pack of five candidates in that race.
In Bexar County, among the most competitive races is in the Democratic race for District Attorney, where incumbent Nico LaHood is being challenged by defense attorney Joe Gonzales.
There are also numerous contested races for district judge, county court at law judge, precinct chair on both ballots.
In addition, the Republican Party of Texas will pose several propositions to GOP voters at the bottom of its primary ballot related to property taxes, E-verify, toll roads, Obamacare and more.
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 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” to 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.