Early voting kicks off in Travis County, voters begin choosing candidates

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Sherchand | Daily Texan Staff

Early voting will kick off Tuesday, allowing Travis County voters to begin choosing their primary nominees and determining local elections.

Those who registered 30 days before election day, March 3, can vote on campus from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Perry-Castañeda Library and the Flawn Academic Center, according to the Travis County Clerk website. 

Janae Steggall, the civic engagement alliance chair for TX Votes, said she encourages people to take advantage of early voting, vote with friends and use social media to get other voters interested.

“(Early voting is) 10 whole days of essentially no line at any polling station, which just makes it so much easier and faster to go out and vote,” said Steggall, a government and international relations and global studies sophomore. “My past two times doing early voting, I’ve had a five minute wait one time and then no (wait) the other. I just walked straight into the polling station.”

Democrats will vote for a presidential primary candidate from a pool that includes Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Although University Democrats does not endorse national candidates, Alex Evans, communications director for University Democrats, said her advice for choosing who to vote for is to do research and follow your gut.

 

John Cornyn, United States Senate incumbent, will run for the Republican senatorial nomination against business owner Dwayne Stovall, investor Mark Yancey, software developer Virgil Bierschwale and attorney John Anthony Castro. Twelve candidates are vying for the Democratic Senate nominee, according to the Travis County sample ballot.  

Taylor Frontera, the administrative director and state liaison for College Republicans at Texas, said she feels confident in Cornyn because of his experience in the legislature and his ability to work across the aisle.

“He’s trying to be a true representative to his constituents,” Frontera said. “Even though you’re a Republican candidate in office, you get phone calls from Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, from all over the political spectrum, and your job is to represent them.”

The race for Travis County District Attorney will also come to a head on March 3 as candidates José Garza and Erin Martinson face off against incumbent Margaret Moore. Evans said University Democrats is backing José Garza.

“It’s time for change in Travis County,” Plan II freshman Evans said. “It’s time for people of color to stop being disproportionately represented in our jails. It’s time for criminal justice reform. It’s time to start properly advocating and supporting victims of sexual assault in the legal system.”

Frontera, a German and international relations and global studies senior, said the reforms planned by the Democratic candidates would be too radical and ineffective. Frontera said Moore is making substantial progress in this area.

“Moore has done a great deal for the county as DA including the implementation of new advisory programs to ensure civil justice is conducted appropriately,” Frontera said in an email. “Additionally, she has dramatically reduced prosecutions of minimal drug possessions. She still stands for the law and emphasizes that the rule of law must be followed but has created avenues to address unruly convictions.”