North Texas Daily

Election Day 2018: Here’s everything you need to know

Election Day 2018: Here’s everything you need to know

Election Day 2018: Here’s everything you need to know
November 01
19:28 2018

Election Day 2018 is Tuesday, Nov. 6, and there is a lot of information out there about different candidates, races and how to vote. Here is some information that may be helpful for UNT students and Denton residents to read before casting their ballots:

Voting on Election Day

Early voting will remain open until Nov. 2, and here is a list of the early voting polling places and the times they are open.

While there are more polling places on Election Day, one must go their specific precinct location, which is determined by the address of the registered voter.

During early voting, there are more options for voters as they do not have to go to their specific precinct polling place. Residents can find out their designated polling location by visiting votedenton.com.

A form of ID must be brought to the polling location when going to vote. These IDs must be current or expired no more than 60 days before bringing it to vote. Some accepted forms of IDs include a driver’s license, an election identification certificate and a passport.

Voters also cannot wear any political t-shirts, buttons, hats, etc. when going vote because it is a Class C misdemeanor to do so within 100 feet of a polling place, according to the Texas Election Code.

At a polling place, one also cannot tell people how they are going to vote, how they would like them to vote and while it is not illegal, it is prohibited to use a cell phone within 100 feet of a polling place.

For more information on voting in Texas, visit votetexas.gov.

Infographic Lizzy Spangler

The numbers so far

Almost 3 million voters have cast a ballot one week into early voting, according to a report from the Texas Tribune.

There are 497,490 registered voters in Denton County who are eligible to vote in this election, according to the Denton County elections website.

According to the Texas Secretary of State website172,332 total ballots have been cast through in-person and mail ballots in Denton County as of Oct. 30.

Denton County saw 19,045 ballots cast on the first day of early voting, which is nearly triple the amount cast on the first day of early voting for the 2014 midterm election.

Race for U.S. Senate

One of the Texas races attracting a lot of attention nationally is the race between current U.S. Texas Senator Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Neal Dikeman is the Libertarian Party candidate.

Cruz, first elected to the seat in 2012, is fighting off a challenge by O’Rourke, who is currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a former El Paso City Council member. Dikeman is a sixth-generation Texan who works as a venture capitalist supporting gun rights and school choice and opposes net neutrality and the Affordable Care Act. O’Rourke is a pro-choice Democrat who supports gun control, passing the DREAM Act and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. Dikeman is also pro-choice and supports a path to citizenship, a right to privacy and local government.  

O’Rourke raised $61.8 million dollars and Cruz raised $28.1 million dollars in the course of this race. Both candidates have said they will serve the entirety of their term if elected.

The Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News have all endorsed O’Rourke over Cruz. The Houston Chronicle endorsed Cruz in 2012 in his race against Democrat Paul Sadler.

Notable information about this race: O’Rourke had a DWI arrest in 1998, President Trump held a rally in Houston on Oct. 22 for Cruz and the Cook Political Report rates this race as a “Toss-up.” 

Cruz also has an advantage as a Republican incumbent in a Republican state, said Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, UNT Department of Political Science chairman. However, Eshbaugh-Soha also said Cruz has recently played on voters’ enthusiasm because it is a strong predictor.

“It comes down to turnout,” Eshbaugh-Soha said. “[Cruz is] trying to get people to turn out. ‘Don’t rest on your laurels, don’t think just because I’m an incumbent Republican in a Republican state that I’m gonna win. Please go out and vote.’”

Eshbaugh-Soha said he thinks both candidates did “really well” in the debates and stuck to their respective strategies of how they are attracting voters.

“O’Rourke’s strategy is to be more general,” Eshbaugh-Soha said. “Cruz is more specific in attacking. That suggests Cruz might feel vulnerable.”

Eshbaugh-Soha talked about O’Rourke’s strategy of staying “general” when discussing issues at his rallies.

“He probably is more liberal than Texas as a whole, so he wants to talk broad themes [and] motivate people more generally,” Eshbaugh-Soha said.

Race for Texas Governor

The race for Texas governor is being fought by incumbent Republican Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez. Mark Tippetts is the Libertarian Party candidate.

Abbott was first elected governor in 2014, defeating Democratic challenger Wendy Davis. Before becoming governor, he served as attorney general.

Valdez is the former sheriff of Dallas County, first elected to that position in 2004, and was the first Latina sheriff in the U.S.

Tippetts is a legal and business consultant who was elected in 2017 to the city council of Lago Vista, Texas.

On the issues, Abbott signed into law open and campus carry laws, supports religious liberty, securing the borders and is pro-life. Valdez supports LGBTQ rights, gun control and Dreamers while fighting against Voter ID laws and partisan gerrymandering. Tippetts opposes the border wall and supports a right to privacy and a free market. 

The Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News all endorsed Greg Abbott for governor. The Cook Political Report rates this race as “Solid Republican.”

Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor

A lieutenant governor is the second-highest office in the State of Texas and serves as the president of the Senate for the state. The Lt. governor influences how the senate does its business and determines the order of which bills are considered by the Senate.

Incumbent Dan Patrick is running against Democrat Mike Collier and Kerry McKennon is the Libertarian Party candidate.

Texas voters elected Patrick in 2014, replacing David Dewhurst, while Collier is a businessman who ran for comptroller in 2014 against Glenn Hegar. McKennon served in the U.S. Naval Reserves for eight years and currently serves as the county coordinator for the Libertarian Party of Texas and is openly gay. 

On the issues, Patrick is a pro-life conservative who championed a bathroom bill to prohibit people who are transgender to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. Collier is a Democrat who wants to increase access to health care, reform the criminal justice system and supports gun control. McKennon wants to eliminate property taxes, end the death penalty and legalize gambling. 

The Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News endorsed Collier for lieutenant governor.

Race for Attorney General

The attorney general is the chief lawyer and legal officer for Texas. Their responsibilities include defending the laws of the Texas Constitution and representing the state in litigation.

Republican Ken Paxton is the incumbent, first elected in 2014, having previously served in the Texas State Senate. He was indicted on state felony securities fraud in 2015 and could face as many as 99 years in prison.

His Democratic opponent is Justin Nelson, who is a lawyer. Michael Ray Harris, a criminal defense lawyer, is the Libertarian Party candidate. 

On the issues, Paxton is pro-life and supports Voter ID laws and religious liberty/freedom while Nelson is advocating for ending family separation, reforming the criminal justice system, ending corruption and increasing access to healthcare. Harris wants to have the attorney general’s office focus more on those who have been wrongfully convicted and supports legalizing marijuana. 

The Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News endorsed Nelson for attorney general.

Texas’ 26th Congressional District

The 26th Congressional District covers most of Denton County, a large portion of Tarrant County and a sliver of Dallas County.

The race for who will represent this district is being fought by incumbent Republican Michael Burgess, Democrat Linsey Fagan and Libertarian Mark Boler.

Burgess has represented this district since 2003 and is a medical doctor and UNT alum. Fagan works in the tech industry and is a single mom, while Boler is a computer scientist and has been involved with the Libertarian Party since 1988. 

“Michael Burgess is the incumbent here,” Eshbaugh-Soha. “It’s not that competitive.”

On the issues, Burgess describes himself as a fiscal conservative who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times. Fagan advocates for decriminalizing marijuana, a four-year rollout of Medicare for All and a path to citizenship for DREAMers. Boler is in favor of minimizing government and ending the policy of foreign intervention. 

The Dallas Morning News endorsed Burgess, and the Cook Political Report rates this race as “Solid Republican.”

Texas House District 64

Texas House District 64 is located within Denton County, comprising of approximately 168,000 people, according to current representative Lynn Stucky’s website. It includes the cities of Corinth, Denton, Krum, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek and Shady Shores.

Stucky is the incumbent, running against Democrat Andrew Morris. Nick Dietrich is the Libertarian Party candidate. Stucky is a veterinarian, first elected in 2016 while Morris is a technical writer. Morris defeated Democrat Mat Pruneda in the runoff election in May.

On the issues, Stucky is pro-life and co-sponsored a bill that bans sanctuary cities. Morris is pro-choice and supports gun control, better access to healthcare and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

“I think [these races] are going to be closer than we’ve seen in the past,” Eshbaugh-Soha said. “The fact that I’ve seen Democratic signs for Burgess’ opponent–that’s unique.”

However, Eshbaugh-Soha added he does not see anything that will dislodge the Denton incumbents.

The Dallas Morning News endorsed Stucky in this race.

UNT Community’s Election Perspective

Eshbaugh-Soha said he expects Democrats to win more seats in the House of Representatives than in the Senate.

Midterm elections can cause the majority party to switch. Eshbaugh-Soha said the state of the economy plays a part in congressional seats.

“This year the economy is doing really quite well,” Eshbaugh-Soha said. “Even though we will expect Democrats to gain seats in the House and maybe in the Senate, that’s an interesting wrinkle that could minimize some of the Republican losses.”

Eliana Johnson is a drawing and painting sophomore who said she plans on voting Democrat in this election.

“I feel Democrats will protect LGBT rights, women’s rights more so than [a] Republican candidate would,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said she does think it is important that young people get involved in politics.

“We have a lot of ideas that need to be encouraged and paid attention to,” Johnson said.

Elizabeth Molina is a psychology junior and said she is pretty moderate when it comes to politics because her parents are very conservative and her friends are very liberal.

“I’m not really gung-ho for anyone,” Molina said. “I feel like I’m very uninformed about politics in general, so I feel like I need to learn more before I can definitely say ‘I’m very much for this person or against this person.’”

Ben Bartlett is a mechanical engineering sophomore who said he will be voting Republican.

“[It’s] everyone’s civic duty to vote,” he said. “I feel like it’s our responsibility to be aware of politics.”

Bartlett also said he does think it is a fair criticism to say that young people do not vote.

“I feel like sometimes younger people aren’t as informed, mainly because they just don’t decide to [be],” Bartlett said.

Eshbaugh-Soha said the Kavanaugh hearing and confirmation served as motivation for both Democrats and Republicans to rile their respective supporters to vote in the midterms.

“If [that enthusiasm] lasts, that could be something that could work against Democrats in November because a lot of it is about enthusiasm–which group of voters are gonna turn out?” Eshbaugh-Soha said.

While more eligible voters in Texas are showing up to the polls for early voting, Eshbaugh-Soha said turnout will likely remain low for young voters aged 18 to 34.

Featured Image: File

About Author

Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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