Can Texas voters switch political parties in primary runoff elections?

Voters can choose their party during primary, but they must stick with that party in runoff, according to election code

A woman exits an early voting poll site, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in San Antonio. Early voting in Texas began Monday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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Though most of the 2022 midterm primary races in Texas were called on Tuesday night, several candidates across the state will have to wait until May to learn their political fate.

In Texas, candidates must win more than 50% of the vote to be declared the winner, which can be difficult in crowded primary races. In races where a candidate failed to clear that threshold, the top two contenders advance to a runoff, slated for May 24.

With some notable runoffs on both Democratic and Republican ballots, including the attorney general’s race, some voters may be wondering if they can switch up political parties during the runoff.

Because the state operates under open primaries, voters can choose which party’s primary they’d like to vote in. According to Texas election laws, however, voters must stick with the same party during the runoff.

“A person who is affiliated with a political party is ineligible to become affiliated with another political party during the same voting year,” the election code states.

If a voter does attempt to switch parties and cast a ballot in the runoff, that vote would be voided, according to the laws.

Voters who did not cast a ballot during the primary would be deemed unaffiliated with either political party. Because of that, they can choose to vote in either party’s runoff, even though they did not vote during the initial primary.

The deadline to register to vote in the runoff is April 25. You can check your registration status here.

Early voting will take place for one week ahead of the runoff, from May 16 through May 20.

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