In all seriousness, Tuesday, February 16 marks the first day for Bexar County residents (and all other registered Texas voters) can cast their ballots during the early voting period. The period, which lasts from the February 16 through February 26, gives voters the opportunity exercise their civic duty before the frenzied, stress-inducing environment that will be March 1, the actual primaries voting day.
But before venturing out to the early voting location nearest you, here are some things to keep in mind:
For starters, this might be your first encounter with Texas' controversial Voter I.D. law. Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) passed back in 2011. Today, the law requires voters across the state to present any of seven forms of valid, state-issued identification upon casting a ballot. VoteTexas.org provides a complete list of acceptable identification forms, I.D. procedures upon voting and qualifications to gain exemption from the I.D. regulations.
Another thing to consider when preparing for either the early voting period or the actual March 1 primary is your voter registration. In order to vote within Bexar County this spring, you need to be registered to vote within the county. This is a must, as depicted in emphatic capital letters on votetexas.org's webpage, and you will not be permitted to cast a ballot if you do not meet this qualification.
Unfortunately, if you have not yet registered to vote within Bexar County, you will not be able to participate in the primary elections this go around. Texas requires a 30 day waiting period from the time you register until you are eligible to cast a vote. Additionally, if you've moved since your last voter registration, especially if you've changed counties entirely, you will need to make sure via the Did You Change Something page to see if you are still eligible to cast a ballot in the primaries.
That was some pretty heavy stuff. Totally necessary, but heavy. What we're really trying to say is that you should get out and vote this year and make your voice heard! Even if you feel that your vote is insignificant, or that the system is totally rigged (understandable), if everyone felt and acted that way, no change would ever happen. So really, get out there.