By Mary Alys Cherry
The year 2016 will be a busy one for voters as we choose a new president, elect or re-elect congressmen and state legislators during the March 1 Democratic and Republican primaries to select party nominees.
Then we have city elections Saturday, May 7 in many area cities as residents choose mayors and city councilors and vote on various municipal proposals. In between, there’ll be runoffs, also.
Friday, Feb. 19 is the last day a candidate can file for a place on the ballot in the May 7 city elections, while write-in candidates have until Tuesday, Feb. 23 declare their candidacy.
Filing for the March 1 party primaries is closed.
Several area legislators will have no opposition. Among them are Sen. Larry Taylor (District 11), Sen. Sylvia Garcia (District 6) and Sen. Rodney Ellis (District 13). Plus, State Reps Dennis Bonnen, Dr. Greg Bonnen, Dennis Paul and Carol Alvarado.
Area State House members drawing opposition include Wayne Faircloth (R), who will have Lloyd Criss (D) as his opponent; Wayne Smith (R), who’ll face Briscoe Cain and Melody McDaniel in the GOP Primary; Gilbert Pena (R), who will vie for the seat with the Democratic Primary winner — Bernie Aldape III, Cody Ray Wheeler or Mary Ann Perez; and Ed Thompson (R), who has Democrat John T. Floyd as his fall opponent.
In the congressional races, while several did not draw party opponents, only Rep. Brian Babin drew no opposition at all. Pete Olson (R) will face either of two Democrats — Mark Gibson or A.R. Hassan — in the fall, and Sheila Jackson Lee has four Republicans seeking a chance to run against her.
Rep. Gene Green will vie in the Democratic Primary against Adrian Garcia and Dominique Garcia with the winner facing the GOP Primary winner – either Julio Garza or Robert Schafranek. Rep. Randy Weber has opposition from Keith Casey in the GOP Primary with the winner tilting with Democrat Michael Cole in November.
Besides Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders, another 143 are running for the Democratic nomination.
A dozen well known candidates are on the Republican ballot including Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio, Rick Santoriu and Donald Trump, plus about 200 others.
Then there are dozens – perhaps more than 500 – of third party and independent candidates. For a complete list, visit www.politics1.com/p2016.htm
But you can’t participate if you’re not registered to vote. And, if you’re not registered, you can’t vote in the March 1 primaries, as the deadline was Feb. 1. If you didn’t make that deadline, the last day to register to vote in the primary runoffs is Monday, April 25.
In Harris County, registering is quite simple. Google Harris County voter registration and you’ll get the Harris County Tax Office page. To your right you’ll see a box labeled Voter Registration Applications. Fill it out. Print it. Sign it and mail it in before the next deadline.
For Galveston County, Google Galveston County voter registration. Fill out the form online, print it, sign it and mail it in in the postage-free mailer provided. Or stop by the county courthouse in Galveston or any of the three branch offices in League City, Santa Fe and Texas City and fill out a form and turn it in.