Would it surprise you to learn that the March 5th, 2024 Primary Election actually begins in September of 2023, six months before election day?
The Texas Secretary of State begins that election’s ,,Calendar of Events on Friday, September 1, 2023. However, if you really want to have an impact on the election integrity of the primary, your election calendar should start long before the first candidates begin filing for a place on the ballot.
Planning the Election
By the time November rolls around the Democratic and Republican County Chairs are meeting with county officials and each other to finalize their decisions about whether or not to contract with the county for their party’s election and whether or not it will be a joint primary.
Joint primaries can save the party money, but they can cost the party with a decrease in security. Election Integrity advocates should assist the County Chairs in making the best decision for the county that ensures integrity and trust in the election.
County chairs and officials also meet to hammer out the details of the election such as voting systems, numbers of election workers, potential consolidation of precincts, etc. These decisions could benefit greatly from the input of election integrity advocates, so they must get a head start. Most of this planning was done the previous summer during County Executive Committee meetings.
The members of the County Executive Committee (EC) are the elected and appointed precinct chairs of the county and the meetings are led by the County Chair. Only the precinct chairs can cast a vote, but citizens may attend the meetings and lobby the precinct chairs, their representatives to the county party.
This past summer saw many heated debates over hand-counting and/or hand marking ballots, whether or not to hold joint primaries, and other election-related issues. Some ECs will form committees to plan the primary election well in advance.
Voter Roll list maintenance is a constant, ongoing process. Voter registrars are supposed to remove voters on schedules that range from annually to daily. Election integrity advocates can assist in this process by ensuring these list maintenance activities are occurring and by challenging voter registrations.
Whether someone is a block walker for a candidate, a precinct chair getting out the vote, or a kind citizen getting to know their neighbors, any registered voter can identify voters who no longer live at an address and ,,challenge their registration. This challenge can take the form of an affidavit submitted to the voter registrar who then has a duty to investigate, or a formal challenge that results in an official hearing. It is a great way to assist the voter registrar in maintaining accurate voter rolls since many people fail to update their voter registration when they move. In the months preceding an election, however, registrars must pause most of this list maintenance activity.
It is crucial that election integrity advocates remain active and involved throughout the year. There really is no down time between election cycles. For election integrity the time between elections, when the polls are closed, is almost as important as when they are open. Citizens must be engaged in the ongoing process of ensuring accuracy, transparency, and accountability all year long.