Primary Election Day is actually Tuesday, March 6, but early voting begins at the Wood County Courthouse in Quitman on Tuesday. Branch location early voting will also be available at four locations on different days.
Primary elections are put on by political parties to determine which candidates will appear on the ballot in the General Election, Nov. 6. The General Election in November is put on by the county, operating under rules set by the Texas Secretary of State’s office. The candidates advanced by this primary election will be voted on in the General Election and the winner will assume the contested office.
When you go to vote, a sign will direct you to the table with the appropriate party’s ballot, Republican or Democrat. By requesting a specific party’s ballot you are not declaring that you are a member of that party, nor are you obligated to vote for their candidates in the General Election. You can vote only one ballot in the primary.
Besides the candidates on your ballot, you will find a number of “propositions.” These are not laws or amendments to the Constitution. These are simply statements of principle regarding specific issues about which the party would like your opinion. The propositions on each party’s ballot are different.
When you choose a party’s ballot, you choose to vote for their candidates and their proposition to the exclusion of all others – in the primary. There is no provision for mixing the contents of one ballot with that of another.
Candidates who are victorious on the primary ballot generally do not assume office unless they are also victorious in the General election in November. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. First, a candidate running unopposed on his party’s ballot (and no candidate from another party is running for that office) will automatically assume the office since there is no opposition to their candidacy. In Wood County the race for criminal district attorney falls in this category.
In the case where multiple candidates in a primary are all running on the ballot of a single party (no other party offering candidates in that race) the winner of this primary then is effectively elected to office as in the November General Election they will be running unopposed. An example of this would be the race for county judge in Wood County.
Early voting will be on the first floor of the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, March 2, except Saturday, Feb. 24 when you may vote from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25 when there will be no early voting.
For voter convenience, remote early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is scheduled for the following days and locations: Winnsboro area – Feb. 20 & 21 - Winnsboro City Auditorium (Hope Lane in the park), Mineola area – Feb. 22 & 23 - First United Methodist Ministries Center (612 N Newsom), Hawkins area – Feb. 26 &27 – Hawkins community Center (301 Lynch Street) and Holly Lake Ranch area – Feb. 28 & March 1 – Holly Lake VFD (126 Private Road 7869). On voting day, March 6, all of the usual polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – there will be no voting at the courthouse on Election Day.
Citizens are encouraged to take a government issued photo ID and voter’s registration card. A Texas drivers license will get you through the line the quickest because the equipment used at all polling locations can usually read the “QR code” on the back to bring up registration information. Other forms of ID are legal and acceptable but may require longer to process. You may bring in a “cheat sheet” to remind yourself of how you wish to vote at the voting machine, but you must take it with you when you leave; do not throw it in the trash at the polling location.
Further, those who go to the polls are advised not to wear or take any campaign materials into the polling location. Campaign hats, pin and buttons must be removed. Campaign literature should be left in one’s car or thrown in the trash outside. A campaign tee-shirt will win a person a trip to the bathroom where they can turn the shirt inside out before returning to the polling location.
Remember the election workers cannot legally discuss any candidate or proposition on the ballot in the polling location. They are there to assist in using the equipment to cast ballots. A voter is not required to vote in every race or on every proposition on the ballot; leave that area blank if you wish. Anyone who has any complaints about any rules or laws or how the government in general is functioning, should not expect that an election worker can change any of these. These complaints and comments are best directed to the people we elect to office. First time voters and those unfamiliar with the equipment will find election workers on site to assist you to make sure your ballot is properly cast.
Results from the election are generally posted on the county’s website www.mywoodcounty.com as early as the evening of the election. A person can also use this site to find out which voting precinct they are in, if they are currently registered, to see sample ballots and much more. Look under “Departments,” “Election.” Informed voters determine the future. We look forward to seeing you at the polls.