2016 Bexar County Primary Election

I feel passionately about empowering people to understand when Bexar County Elections are going on so that people can perform their civic duties and vote. It doesn’t just end with voting either. Encourage your friends, co-workers, and family to vote.  Remember that apathy does not fix the system. Complaining on social media does not change the political landscape.  Action and accountability does!

YES there is a lot of information below but I have tried to frame things in context with the content so that you don’t feel overwhelmed when you look at the sample ballots.  I try to link/describe what different words/positions mean so that you have all the information in one place.  Please let me know what you think and share with your friends and family!

Texas Primary Elections – What’s On the Ballot?

In Texas, a voter must vote in the Primary for candidates on either the Republican or Democratic ballot. However, the voter may not vote for both Republicans and Democrats during the Primary. If the voter does not tell the judge whether they wish to vote Democratic or Republican, then the judge will be unable to provide a ballot for the voter.

The Primary elections are a political party event and the party may choose to put a proposition on their Party’s ballot or not.

Additionally:

During this election you’ll be voting for not only the presidential nominee for each party but also some county commissioner, sheriff, constable, and other offices.

Federal

  • Presidential nomination
  • Texas has TWO Senators (John Cornyn and Ted Cruz) but neither are up for re-election.
  • All U.S. House positions are up for voting and most districts have challengers.  By using the sample ballot by address you can see what district you’re in and which House candidates you’ll be voting on so you can do some homework ahead of time.

Additional Information:

State

  • Railroad Commissioner  (one of many State Offices like Governor) – state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry, and surface coal and uranium mining.
  • Justice, Supreme Court – hears appeals involving civil matters and does not hear any appeals involving criminal matters except when the defendant is a juvenile.  The court of last resort for civil matters (including juvenile delinquency which the law considers to be a civil matter and not criminal)
  • State Board of Education – more information here.
    • Setting curriculum standards
    • Reviewing and adopting instructional materials
    • Establishing graduation requirements
    • Overseeing the Texas Permanent School Fund
    • Appoint board members to military reservation and special school districts
  • Texas State Representatives – consists of 150 members who are elected from single-member districts for a term of 2 years work on writing bills into Texas laws.
  • Court of Criminal Appeals – hears appeals on criminal cases excluding those involving juvenile proceedings.
  • Court of Appeals – All cases are heard by a three-justice panel. Texas has 14 Courts of Appeals, which have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. Bexar County is the Fourth Court of Appeals.
  • District Courts – Texas has 14 Courts of Appeals, which have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases including felony criminal cases, divorce cases, land title disputes, election contests, civil matters in which at least $200 is disputed or claimed in damages, as well as other matters. Most district courts consider both criminal and civil cases but, in counties with many courts, each may specialize in civil, criminal, juvenile, or family law matters. [Wikipedia]

Additional Information:

  • Citizen’s Handbook has some great definitions, flow diagrams, etc. on how Texas Legislature works.
  • Learn about Texas Legislature here (including who makes up the Texas House and Senate, how bills become laws, etc.)
  • Texas Court System
  • Supreme Court of Texas

County

  • County Tax Assessor- Collector – assess and collect taxes on property in the county for the county
  • Judge – The county judge is both presiding officer of the commissioners court and judge of the county court. As such, the judge is often thought of as the chief executive officer of the county.
  • Sheriff – chief law enforcement officer for the county and is responsible for operating the county jails, investigating crimes, enforcing judgments, and maintaining communications with other law enforcement organizations.
  • County Offices including:
    • Commissioner
    • County Chairman
  • County Administrators
  • County Courts –  exclusive jurisdiction over “Class A” and “Class B” misdemeanors (these offenses can involve jail time), concurrent jurisdiction over civil cases where the amount in controversy is moderately sized, and appellate jurisdiction over JP and municipal court cases.
  • Constable – The constable is an authorized peace officer and is the chief process server of the justice court. The constable has statewide jurisdiction to execute any criminal process, and countywide jurisdiction to execute any civil process.

Great county position document here details out all the positions and line by line explanations of the roles and responsibilities.

Ballot Referenda

A referendum is a proposed law placed on the ballot for citizens to either approve or reject. Referenda (plural of referendum) are proposed by the legislature or by local governing bodies like city councils.

Ballot Propositions

Basically, our elected state legislature want Texas voters to vote so th

Can You Vote???

You are eligible to register and vote if you are:

A) a citizen of the United States,
B) a resident of Bexar County,
C) at least 17 years and 10 months of age and you must be 18 years of age by election day
D) not declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.
E) not a convicted felon, or, if so convicted you have:

1) fully discharged your sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court; or,
2) been pardoned or otherwise release from the resulting disability to vote.

Check if you’re registered to vote, here.

Helpful Bexar County Links

Social Media

What Else Can You Do?

  • Help Register People to Vote! Learn more here but you can help accept voter registration forms (i.e. hand out registration forms to friends and family) so they can register to vote (must be registered 30 days before election!) Please call (210) 335-6625 for information regarding available training dates, times and location.

Additional information from my friends at NowcastSA! http://nowcastsa.com/2016-elections 

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