Today, March 4, is Primary Election day in Texas! The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has been spreading the message that voting in the Primary Election is of vital importance to all of our members and all public education retirees in the state!

In yesterday’s Inside Line, we told you that only 3 to 6 percent of Texas voters tend to vote in gubernatorial primaries. Because so few voters vote in the Primary Election, EVERY VOTE MATTERS!

We have also repeated this to our members for the past several weeks, and it bears mentioning again: Most political races in Texas are determined DURING THE PRIMARY ELECTION, not the November General Election!

According to the Texas Tribune, “in modern-day Texas, the election that matters is usually the Republican primary…and the winners who emerge from Tuesday’s Republican primary and subsequent May 27 runoff elections will in most cases be the prohibitive favorites to win in November.”

The Tribune also states that “a small subset of the state’s electorate holds considerable influence.” Regardless of whether you vote in the Republican or Democratic primary, it is vital that you vote!

TRTA has 80,000 members and represents the voices of over 300,000 retirees and more than 800,000 pre-retirees in Texas! We can and must use our considerable influence and VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION!

A large number of our elected officials will be new or have less than two years of experience by the time the next legislative session begins in January 2015. This means many legislators may not be familiar with the issues impacting retired teachers in Texas or our active school personnel!

It is essential that we elect Senators and Representatives that support TRS-Care and the TRS pension fund. In our previous Voter Health Series articles, we discussed several contested and open seats in the Primary election. Please review these races and determine if you are impacted! The Texas Tribune Elections Bracket can help you determine who is running for office in your area.

Please also use the valuable Teach the Vote resource from the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) to review candidates’ responses to important questions about education and TRS. Teach the Vote can be found by clicking here.

Where to Vote Today

When you vote today, you must vote in your precinct. To determine your polling location, please visit the Texas Secretary of State website by clicking here. Per the website, you may select one of three methods to do a polling place search: search by 1. your Texas driver’s license number, if you provided it when you applied for voter registration; 2. your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID), which appears on your voter registration certificate; or 3. your first and last name.

Some locations are opening later than originally planned due to inclement weather conditions. Please do not let this prevent you from voting! We encourage you to use caution if you live in an area where it may be dangerous to travel. Please wait until conditions are safe before you venture out to the polls. Please call ahead to determine how late your polling location is open.

Encourage your fellow retirees, family members and friends to come out and vote in the Primary Election. Arrange a car pool of neighbors and go to the polling location together!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Remember, you are a valued member of our organization, and your vote in the Primary Election is also valuable! Use your power and vote! If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, contact us at 1.800.880.1650.