Tuesday is Election Day

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

March 1, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.

Voting polls open Tuesday for the Republican and Democratic primary election.

Of the 17 offices up for election, five are contested on the Republican ballot and one on the Democratic ticket.

Democratic Party Chairman Cris Gonzalez said he has seen a higher turnout for the other party and attributes that to its number of candidates.

"The Republicans are duking it out ... most of their races are contested," Gonzalez said. "Right now, we're getting ourselves ready to be very competitive in the fall."

Republican Party Chairman Michael Cloud said the ID law and the change to vote centers could cause hiccups, but also gives flexibility to voters.

"We encourage people to participate in the process," Cloud said. "Our country is only as good as the citizens who get involved."

After the votes are tallied, the Republican Party will meet for precinct conventions to discuss resolutions to include in the party's platforms.

The Democratic Party will host a combined precinct-county convention 10 a.m. March 22 at the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria.

What's a primary election?

Voters choose which candidates in either the Republican or Democratic party to nominate for the general election ballot in November. Voters may only vote in one party, according to the secretary of the state's office.

To win the nomination in a primary election, a candidate must win a clear majority - more than 50 percent - of the votes cast. If no candidate wins a majority - which happens when more than two people run for the same office - a runoff election is set between the two candidates who won the most votes.

The general election allows voters to choose public officeholders from among the candidates of competing parties.

Bring your ID

Voters are required to show a form of photo identification at the polling location before casting a ballot. Voters who refuse to show proof of identity will be allowed to vote by provisional ballot. However, a refusal to show ID is not a valid reason for casting a provisional ballot, and it is likely that the ballot will be rejected by the ballot board.

Acceptable forms of ID include a Texas driver's license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS, Texas personal identification card issued by DPS, Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS, U.S. military identification card containing the person's photograph, U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph or a U.S. passport, according to the secretary of state's office.

Where to vote

Victoria County is using vote centers for this election, meaning any registered voter may cast his or her ballot at any of the county's polling locations. Election Day voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Know the local candidates

Republican candidates are District Judge, 267th Judicial District, Juergen "Skipper" Koetter; District Judge, 377th Judicial District, Eli Garza; Criminal District Attorney, Steve Tyler; County Judge, Ben Zeller and Don Pozzi; Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 1, Leslie Ann Werner and Travis H. Ernst; Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 2, Daniel "Dan" Gilliam; District Clerk, Cathy Stuart; County Clerk, Heidi Easley; County Treasurer, Sean Kennedy and Lisa Hernandez; County Commissioner Precinct 2, Kevin Janak; Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Stuart Posey; Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, Robert B. "Bob" Whitaker; County Commissioner Precinct 4, Clint Ives; Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, John Miller and Jennifer Zeplin; County Chairman, Michael Cloud.

Democratic candidates County Judge, Ron Reyna; District Clerk, Jane Bernal; County Clerk, Robert S. Cortez; County Treasurer, Jennifer Foster; Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Richard Castillo and Mary Ann Estrada Rivera and County Chairman, Cris M. Gonzalez.

Your rights

As a registered voter in Texas, you have the right to have assistance with casting a ballot as well as other aspects, including a ballot with written instructions on how to cast a ballot. Ask the polling place official for instructions on how to cast a ballot but not suggestions on how to vote. You have the right to cast your vote in secret and free from intimidation. You can receive up to two more ballots if you make a mistake while marking the ballot. You can bring an interpreter to assist you as you qualify to vote if you do not understand the English language. You can ask for help to cast your ballot if you cannot write, see the ballot or understand the language in which it is written. You can report a possible voting rights abuse to the Secretary of State or to your local election official, cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters or you do not have proper identification.



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