March 04, 2004
Primary primer

I've told you about Local Voter and its many useful resources for determining who your incumbents and candidates are. The folks at E-The People have also created some voter guides that are worth a look, for Houston (in conjunction with the Chron), Dallas (with the Morning News), and El Paso (with the El Paso Times).

The Houston voting guide, to which I gave a test drive, was easy to get started - just fill in your street address and ZIP code. It gave me a list of races for which I was eligible to inspect and approve. From there it got a little confusing, as it didn't identify which party the primaries were for, and it mingled candidates for both parties in some of them, such as Sherriff, which threw me off at first. It only asks which primary you want after you choose the races you want. I'd have done it the other way around. It also couldn't say which JP and Constable elections I'll be voting in, something that Local Voter handled easily. Finally, it only showed contested primaries, a limited albeit resonable choice. As such, I recommend checking your information on Local Voter first - after you fill in your address and city info there, the page with your Local officeholders has a link to a list of candidates for your precinct, sorted by party, and including all Constable and JP races as well as uncontested primaries. I did this to verify that I do have a JP (he's just in an uncontested primary) and that I'm in the Constable precinct I thought I was.

Anyway, once you get past all that, you're presented with a ballot. You can enter a check mark next to the candidates you like, compare candidates on the issues, jot down notes to yourself, and print or email the ballot to yourself for later reference. If you email the ballot to yourself, it will contain a URL that you can bookmark. That's the only way to save the page itself with your choices.

For those who care, my ballot is here. For other races, with the exception of choosing Alma Allen over Ron Wilson in HD 131, I'd go with the Democratic incumbents. I'd also go with Richard Morrison in CD 22 and Byron Barclay in HD 134. Whoever you go for, though, just make sure you do go. The Presidential primary may be over, but the voting is just beginning.

Rob has already done his, having heard about this from Jost. I heard about this via an email from the E The People folks. However you're hearing about it, use it and Local Voter to get prepared for the voting booth. Early voting ends tomorrow.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 04, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

Just checked Dallas and due to redistricting, they won't have Dallas County ready in time for next Tuesday's primary.

Should be ready in plenty of time for the GE, but I can't imagine having a problem deciding between D and R. Might be useful for swing voters, though.

Posted by: Mathwiz on March 4, 2004 2:51 PM