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Election guide: Early voting begins for the March primaries


Austinites can begin heading to the polls today to early vote in the March primary elections.

In the primary elections, voters will decide a party's candidate before the general election for different races. This election includes races for governor, lieutenant governor and members of Congress.

Due to Texas having open primaries, voters choose which party’s ballot they want to vote in at the polling location. But they can’t vote in both Republican and Democratic primaries in the same election.

Here are the dates, locations and candidates in this election.

Know before you go

Early voting spans from Feb. 14-25. Election Day is March 1.

The time to register to vote has passed in this election, check if you are registered before heading to the polls here.

You'll need a valid photo ID to present at the polls.

Voters can head to any polling location in the county they live in to cast their ballot. Additional polling locations will be added on Election Day.

Travis County polling locations are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. They will be closed Feb. 21 for Presidents Day.

You can view wait times at Travis County locations here.

Voting by mail

In Texas, only certain voters are eligible to vote by mail. They include: people who are 65 years or older; out of the country during the entire election period; sick or disabled; in jail.

Eligible voters must apply for a mail-in ballot by Friday, Feb. 18. The application form, which can be found here, must be mailed to the following address and received by that date.

Dana DeBeauvoir
Travis County Clerk - Elections Division
P.O. Box 149325
Austin, TX 78714

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, fill it out per the instructions and return it. It must be postmarked by or on Election Day and received the following business day.

Voters who wish to hand-deliver their mail-in ballot can do so at the following address.

Travis County Election Division
5501 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751

A new Texas law requires that applications for ballots by mail include a valid Driver’s License Number or last four digits of their Social Security Number. The number is then compared against the applicant’s voter registration record and rejected if it does not match. Thousands have been rejected already for this reason.

What's on the ballot

The big ballot items include the race for governor, but voters will also cast a ballot for members of Congress, the State Legislature and other county races.

At the federal level, voters will vote on who will run for U.S. Congress in their party.

Running to represent District 37, which includes the Western half of Austin, are:

  • Democrats: Lloyd Doggett, Donna Imam, Quinton “Q” Beaubouef, Chris Jones
  • Republicans: Jenny Garcia Sharon, Jermiah Diacogiannis, Rod Lingsch

Running to represent District 35, which includes East Austin and South I-35 to San Antonio, are:

  • Democrats: Carla-Joy Sisco, Rebecca Viagrán, Greg Casar, Eddie Rodriguez
  • Republicans: Jenai Aragona, Michael Rodriguez, Asa George Kent Palagi, Alejandro Ledezma, Dan Sawatzki, Dan McQueen, Sam Montoya, Bill Condict, Jennifer Sundt, Marilyn Jackson
Running to represent District 17, which includes Round Rock and Pflugerville, are:
  • Democrats: Mary Jo Woods
  • Republicans: Paulette Carson, Jason Nelson, Pete Sessions *, Rob Rosenberger
At the state level, voters will choose which candidate in their party they want to run in the November general election for governor. Gov. Greg Abbott has seven challengers in running for his third term. They include:
  • Democrats:Inocencio (Inno) Barrientez, Michael Cooper, Joy Diaz, Beto O’Rourke, Rich Wakeland
  • Republicans: Greg Abbott *, Paul Belew, Danny Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Don Huffines, Rick Perry, Chad Prather, Allen B. West
The state’s second-highest executive office is up for election. Dan Patrick is seeking his third term and is up against five challengers.
  • REPUBLICANS: Trayce Bradford, Todd M. Bullis, Daniel Miller, Dan Patrick *, Aaron Sorrells, Zach Vance
  • DEMOCRATS: Michelle Beckley, Carla Brailey, Mike Collier

Click here to view a personalized sample ballot.


Setting the stage for safety at ACL
ACL Festival

Remember that ticket you and hundreds of thousands of others bought to get into this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park? Well it turns out it guarantees you a lot more than just music this year.

"By purchasing a ticket, you agree to submit to a full body pat down and magnetometer screening before entry," says the festival's website, which goes on to add, "Persons that refuse to comply with the search will be refused entry to the event."

It's all part of a safety and security plan festival organizers say they're working on 24/7 that changes every day.

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Brutally honest ACL lineup review
Ismael Quintanilla III /

Editor's note: the author is an Austin-based music journalist.

There are only two logical reasons for you to click on an article about Austin City Limits one week before the annual festival makes its grand return to Zilker Park: You’re either psyching yourself up for another whirlwind weekend, or you want to justify your decision for not snagging tickets.

Luckily, there’s something in this article for both parties.

This year’s ACL lineup delivers several heavy-hitting triumphs along with a few puzzling inclusions. One praiseworthy feature that immediately sticks out: There’s at least one woman occupying the top line of each day on the festival poster, and two on Friday (The Chicks, SZA) and Sunday (Kacey Musgraves and Paramore) apiece. It might not seem like much, but in an era where music festival lineups are still overwhelmingly male (and white), it’s a notable gesture that hopefully signals even greater diversity in future bookings.

Female headliners are also supplying the bulk of the star power this year. C3 Presents had their work cut out for them matching last year’s megawatt George Strait headlining performance, but they rose to the occasion with the savvy booking of the Chicks, who haven’t played a proper Austin show since 2016 at the Germania Insurance Amphitheater (they also dropped by the Moody Theater in 2018 to perform at Mack, Jack & McConaughey’s annual gala). And with Musgraves returning just three years after her last Zilker Park romp (admittedly a strange move), ACL further shores up its identity as a top-draw festival that’s more country-friendly than many of its contemporaries — this is the Lone Star State, after all.

Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of a solid rock lineup, which feels increasingly like an afterthought at ACL. Don’t get it twisted: Paramore are poised to make a triumphant ACL debut, and with a new song, “This Is Why,” out this week and an album of the same name coming in February (their first since 2017’s After Laughter), they’re a no-brainer booking. But it’s harder to get excited about their Sunday night counterparts, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Sure, the veteran funk-punks recently reunited with classic-era guitarist John Frusciante and will be promoting two new albums, April’s Unlimited Love and the brand-new Return of the Dream Canteen, out Oct. 14. But the band headlined ACL just five years ago, and in a year featuring mammoth tours and residencies from Rage Against the Machine, My Chemical Romance, Elton John and Aerosmith (not to mention the Strokes, who just finished supporting RHCP on their U.S. stadium tour), the booking feels particularly uninspired.

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