Early voting in primary starts Tuesday
Democrats and Republicans in Port Aransas will share common ground in at least one respect: Where they cast early ballots in both primaries.
All early primary election voting will be in the city council chambers on the west end of the city hall complex at 710 W. Ave A.
Early voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 19, and continues through Friday, Feb. 29.
Voting hours Tuesday through Friday, Feb. 22, will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hours Saturday, Feb. 23, will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while hours Sunday, Feb. 24, will be noon to 5 p.m.
The final week of voting, Feb. 25-29, voting hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Democrats and Republicans who did not cast early ballots will go to the council chambers to vote in the primary election on Tuesday, March 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Precinct conventions for both parties will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 4 at city hall. "Conventions are for the purpose of developing the parties respective platforms for the November elections. This is where the grass roots process begins," said Vic Bird, Precinct 19 Republican Party chairman. Precinct 19 includes Port Aransas.
For the first time in many years, the Texas primary will play a key role in assigning delegates to the candidates for their party's nomination. This is because the delegate count for the Democratic candidates, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barak Obama, is too close to call at this point.
Republican Sen. John McCain has significantly more delegates than his closest opponent, Arkansas Sen. Mike Huckabee, so the Texas primary is not as critical in that race that has a third candidate, Texas Sen. Ron Paul.
Dave McNeely, a syndicated columnist whose column appears in the South Jetty, and who previously covered the Legislature for the Austin, explained how the primaries in Texas work.
"Texas will send 228 delegates to participate in the Democratic National Convention in Denver Aug. 25-28. Of those, 126 will be allocated according to the primary election results in the 31 state senate districts. The number of delegates each district gets is based on the Democratic turnout in the general elections in 2006 and 2004.
There will be 67 delegates allocated through a convention process that begins at the precinct level after the polls close March 4, and goes through county and senatorial district conventions to decide on delegates to the state convention June 6-8, where the national convention delegates are selected according to each candidate's delegate strength. At each level, delegates will group according to their candidate preference and select delegates to the next-level convention.
Of those 67 delegates, 42 are atlarge rank and file delegates, and 25 are pledged party leaders, legislators, and local elected officials.
The final 35 delegates are unpledged, and include 32 "superdelegates" who are members of Congress, the Democratic National Committee, former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, and former National Democratic Chairman Bob Strauss. Three of the delegates are so-called add-ons, selected through a three-tier convention process.
Texas has 140 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sept. 1-4. All but three are selected according to the primary vote, and the precinct conventions are primarily for choosing delegates to help govern the party.
Of those, three each are selected from the state's 32 congressional districts, for a total of 96.
If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a congressional district, he gets all three delegates.
If no candidate has a majority, but two each have 20 percent or more, the first-place finisher gets two delegates and the second-place finisher gets one.
If just one candidate gets more than 20 percent of the vote, he gets all three delegates.
If no candidate gets 20 percent, the top three each get one delegate.
There are 41 delegates selected statewide. If a candidate gets a majority, he gets all 41.
If no candidate gets a majority, but one or more candidates get 20 percent or more, the delegates are allocated proportionately among those candidates over 20 percent.
If no candidate reaches 20 percent, all 41 delegates are divided proportionately among the candidates.
The final three delegates - the national committeeman and committeewoman, and the Texas GOP chairman, go to the national convention as uncommitted."
For more details, go to www. hro.house.state.tx.us/interim/ int80-3.pdf)