Early voting is underway in the critical Nov. 6 midterm elections. Beginning Monday, Oct. 22, Texas voters will decide who holds numerous statewide, legislative and congressional seats.
In Harris County, Democrats are hoping to repeat their sweep of 2016. They have an opportunity to win a majority on the Commissioners Court, capture key administrative offices, and pick up dozens of judicial seats.
Statewide, all eyes are on Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke as he vies to unseat Senator Ted Cruz, the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbent. President Donald Trump will host a rally in support of Cruz and other Republicans at the Toyota Center in Houston on Monday night.
Experts agree that the key to the Texas Senate race, not to mention other important contests, will be voter turnout. In the last three midterm elections, Texas has been ranked last in the nation in voter turnout. However, the state has seen a surge of new voter registrations, and a record number of Texans are eligible to cast ballots in midterms.
Also statewide, former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez has a chance to become the nation’s first out lesbian governor. Valdez is taking on GOP Governor Greg Abbott, who is one of many anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbents in Austin who face Democratic challengers.
Locally, LGBTQ advocates are also pinning their hopes on Democratic allies in important Houston-area congressional races, which will help determine whether the party regains control of the U.S. House. Those allies include Lizzie Pannill Fletcher in District 7, Todd Litton in District 2, Dayna Steele in District 36, and Sri Kulkarni in District 22.
The midterm elections also feature a “rainbow wave” of 33 openly LGBTQ candidates on the November ballot in Texas, which is a record. Nine of those candidates are from Harris County.
Several LGBTQ groups have made endorsements in midterm elections, including the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. For a printable version of the Caucus’ endorsement card, go here. You can also find it inside the front cover of the October issue of OutSmart, which is on newsstands now. Other groups that have made endorsements include Equality Texas and the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
From Oct. 22 through Nov. 2, you can cast your ballot at any early voting location in the county where you reside. Here are links to early voting locations and times for several Southeast Texas counties:
In order to vote in person in Texas, you’ll need one of seven forms of ID. However, if you do not have one of those forms of ID, you can still vote by declaring a reasonable impediment. If you are turned away because your name does not appear on registration rolls, you can request a provisional ballot and receipt.