What’s a primary, and how does it work?

Primary elections are run by the two major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, to decide which candidates will represent them in the general election this November.

When you get to the polls for the primary election, you’ll be asked to choose which primary you want to vote in, Democratic or Republican.

In Texas, the primary you vote in does not determine which candidates you can vote for in the general election in November. However, if there is a runoff in the primary election (when no candidate gets a majority and the top two candidates compete in a runoff), you would only be able to vote in the runoff for the party whose primary you voted in.

In addition to candidates, during primary elections, each party puts several ballot propositions up for a vote. Similar to a survey or a poll, these non-binding propositions are a way for state parties, candidates, and legislators to learn how voters feel about specific issues.

Ballot propositions for March 2018 Primary

NOTE: The rows in the Ballot Propositions below are not comparable subjects; they’re just numbered alike. The similarity ends there! (In other words, read each column separately.)

Prop #1 on a Right to a 21st Century Public Education
Should everyone in Texas have the right to quality public education from pre-k to 12th grade, and affordable college and career training without the burden of crushing student loan debt?
Proposition 1
Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent. Yes/No
Prop #2 on Student Loan Debt
Should everyone in Texas have the right to refinance student loan debt with the Federal Reserve at a 0% interest rate, as relief for the crushing burden of debt and an investment in the next generation of Americans?
Proposition 2
No governmental entity should ever construct or fund construction of toll roads without voter approval. Yes/No
Prop #3 on a Right to Healthcare
Should everyone in Texas have a right to healthcare, guaranteed by a universal, quality Medicare-for-all system?
Proposition 3
Republicans in the Texas House should select their Speaker nominee by secret ballot in a binding caucus without Democrat influence. Yes/No
Prop #4 on a Right to Economic Security
Should everyone in Texas have the right to economic security, where all workers have earned paid family and sick leave and a living wage that respects their hard work?
Proposition 4
Texas should require employers to screen new hires through the free E-Verify system to protect jobs for legal workers. Yes/No
Prop #5 on a National Jobs Program
Should the Democratic Party promote a national jobs program, with high wage and labor standards, to replace crumbling infrastructure and rebuild hurricane damaged areas, paid for with local, state, and federal bonds financed through the Federal Reserve at low interest with long term maturities?
Proposition 5
Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion. Yes/No
Prop #6 on a Right to Clean Air, Safe Water, and a Healthy Environment
Should everyone in Texas have the right to clean air, safe water, and a healthy environment?
Proposition 6
Texas should protect the privacy and safety of women and children in spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings. Yes/No
Prop #7 on a Right to Dignity & Respect
Should everyone in Texas have the right to a life of dignity and respect, free from discrimination and harassment anywhere, including businesses and public facilities, no matter how they identify, the color of their skin, who they love, socioeconomic status, or from where they come?
Proposition 7
I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas. Yes/No
Prop #8 on a Right to Housing
Should everyone in Texas have the right to affordable and accessible housing and modern utilities including high speed internet, free from any form of discrimination?
Proposition 8
Vote fraud should be a felony in Texas to help ensure fair elections. Yes/No
Prop #9 on a Right to Vote
Should every eligible Texan have the right to vote, made easier by automatic voter registration, the option to vote by mail, a state election holiday, and no corporate campaign influence, foreign interference, or illegal gerrymandering?
Proposition 9
Texas demands that Congress completely repeal Obamacare. Yes/No
Prop #10 on a Right to a Fair Criminal Justice System
Should everyone in Texas have the right to a fair criminal justice system that treats people equally and puts an end to the mass incarceration of young people of color for minor offenses?
Proposition 10
To slow the growth of property taxes, yearly revenue increases should be capped at 4%, with increases in excess of 4% requiring voter approval. Yes/No
Prop #11 on Immigrant Rights
Should there be a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes an earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses?
Proposition 11
Tax dollars should not be used to fund the building of stadiums for professional or semi-professional sports teams. Yes/No
Prop #12 a Right to Fair Taxation
Should everyone in Texas have the right to a fair tax system, where all interests (business, corporations, and individuals) pay their share, so that state government meets its obligations?