A Walk Through The Early Voting Process

Our state primary is just two weeks away, and as we've reported, Texas is a major contender in this year's election, especially on the Democratic side. Experts say many voters will be coming out in the primary for the first time.  Already, 1600 East Texans have cast their early vote, just Tuesday. KLTV 7's Tracy Watler walks us through the early voting process.

"Vote Here"--it's a sign you'll soon be seeing everywhere come March 4, but before you head to the polls, we want give you a heads up on what to expect.

First, you'll have to decide: are you a Democrat or are you a Republican? If you choose Democrat--on the federal level, for President, you can choose Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. You'll see other candidates' names like John Edwards. He's dropped out, but he'll still be on the ballot.

"If someone drops out after that deadline, their name is still going to be on that ballot, and if someone does choose that person, that vote will count but as far as going to where it could elect that person it's pretty doubtful," says Karen Chaney, Smith County's Elections Administrator.

Then you'll have to vote on several state positions and finally, county where there's only one contested race for Constable, Precinct 1.

It's quite a different story on the Republican side. For president, you can choose Mike Huckabee, John McCain, or Ron Paul.  Again, candidates' names like Mitt Romney, who's dropped out, will be on the ballot and you can vote for them if you choose.

Now, on the Republican ballot there are several state referendums to vote on.  As for the county, it's a two-man race for Sheriff.

And that brings up a very important note for all you Democrats--"On the Republican ballot there are several local issues that may go into a runoff situation so if you vote in the Democratic primary and there is a runoff for a one of the local races, you will not be able to vote in a republican runoff," Chaney adds.

That means as a Democrat you won't get to vote for Smith County Sheriff, for example.

To view a sample ballot for yourself, and for more information on those Republican state-wide referendums, click on the "Know More On 7" link at the top of this web page.  And then click on "Smith County Sample Ballots."

Just a reminder, on the day of the primary, March 4, polling places will be set up specifically for Democrats and for Republicans.

Tracy Watler Reporting, tracy@kltv.com