By Laura Bray
For the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, December 16, 2023
Scott Kramer’s “Write of Center” column last week included an excellent and accurate run-down of the details of our “great election system,” and we at the Kendall County Democratic Party agree! Kendall County Elections Administrator Staci Decker runs one of the best elections offices in the state. Staci and her outstanding staff provide thorough training of all election workers, and they are very organized and detail-oriented. You can rest assured that your vote will be recorded and counted accurately and that the voting machines are secure. The dedication and ability of poll workers to step beyond partisanship and work together to serve the citizens of Kendall County is one of the most inspiring experiences in today’s politics. I wish more people would rightfully trust in it, so we could shift focus and resources to solving the real problems our community faces.
The March 5, 2024 primary is only twelve weeks away. Kendall County will hold both a Democratic and a Republican Primary, so the voters can decide which candidates will appear on the ballot in the November General Election.
Topping the ballot for the March Primary will be candidates for US President, US Congressional District 21, and US Senator. Candidates for Texas House District 19, Texas Senate District 25, State Board of Education District 10, and Railroad Commissioner will also appear. Candidates for county-wide offices (such as County Commissioners for Precincts 1 and 3, Justice of the Peace, and Constable) will appear, as will a number of judicial races. Non-partisan races, such as City Council and School Boards, are decided in an election in early May.
Texas holds an “open primary.” According to BallotPedia, “An open primary is a type of primary election where voters do not have to formally affiliate with a political party in advance in order to vote in its primary. Voters can declare their affiliation with a party at the polls on the day of the primary, even if those voters were previously affiliated with a different party.” Texas has no requirement to declare one’s party when one registers to vote. A voter “declares” their party affiliation by choosing which Primary to vote in—either Democratic or Republican. When you visit your polling place (or when you request your ballot-by-mail), you will tell the voting clerk which Primary you want to vote in. Once you’ve voted in one party’s Primary, you cannot vote in the other party’s Primary or runoff election. Voters will see only the candidates for the Primary of their choice—in other words, if you vote in the Democratic Primary, your ballot will not include any Republican candidates.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Texas is one of only 11 states that does not permit online voter registration. To be eligible to vote in the March 5 Primary, voters must register no later than Monday, February 5. You can register to vote at the Kendall County Elections Office (KCEO) at 221 Fawn Valley Dr. in Boerne. You can also request a form online (which you must then print and mail) at www.vote411.org/register. If you’re already registered, you will receive an updated voter registration card in the mail in mid-January. This card will list your current voting precinct (although you can vote at any polling location in the county) and the various districts you live in.
If you’re eligible to vote by mail (find out requirements here), you can request an application to do so beginning January 1, 2024. To request an application to vote by mail, call the KCEO at 830-331-8701.
Early voting begins February 20 and runs through March 1. Early voting is held at the KCEO office on Fawn Valley. Election Day is Tuesday, March 5. Kendall County will have eleven polling locations, and you can vote at any one of them. (A list of locations will be available on the KCEO website and in the Boerne Star in mid-February.) Sample ballots listing all the candidates and races for each Primary will be available online (at the KCEO website) or at their office on Fawn Valley by mid-February.
By early February, the Kendall County Democratic Party website will have all the information you need to know before you vote.
We encourage all local Democrats to vote in the Democratic Primary, so we can field the strongest slate of candidates for the November election. For more information on voting or the March Primary, call our office at 830-331-1243 or visit www.kcdems.us
Laura Bray is Chair of the Kendall County Democratic Party. Michele Smith contributed to this column.