Voting in Texas: Why your favorite candidate might be listed at the bottom of the ballot

Your Local Election HQ

Sign outside one of the early voting polling locations in Austin. (Maggie Glynn/Nexstar)

AUSTIN (KXAN) β€” Early voting is under way ahead of Super Tuesday, when people will head to the polls en masse before the results of the Republican and Democratic primaries in Texas will be revealed.

However, those who have already voted may be wondering why their candidate of choice might have been listed at or near the bottom of the ballot.

Candidates are not listed in alphabetical order. Some of the candidates considered front runners in the Democratic race are listed at the bottom of the ballot.

The order in which the candidates are listed also differs on a county-by-county basis.

For example, on the Democratic ballot in Travis County, Elizabeth Warren is first and Michael Bennett is last. In Williamson County, however, Bernie Sanders is listed first, while Warren is listed second and Pete Buttigieg is listed at the very bottom of the 17 candidates. The ballots do still include candidates who have dropped out of the race.

It’s the same case with the GOP. Republicans voting in Travis County will see that President Donald Trump is almost at the bottom of the ballot, listed only above “Uncommitted.”

The reason for this is that each county determines the order randomly by a drawing. This is clarified in the Texas Election Code:

Authority responsible for having official ballot prepared must conduct a drawing to determine the order of names on the ballot when there is more than one candidate for the same office to appear on the ballot. NEW LAW: Per HB 19745 (85th Legislature, RS, 2017), in the primary and runoff primary elections, the county chair conducts the drawing, unless the county executive committee provides by resolution that the drawing be conducted by the primary committee.

Texas Election Code

This is to ensure that candidates who would appear at the top in alphabetical order are not always listed there and thus are not always the first name seen by voters.

As a result, it is common for candidates regarded as long shots to be listed ahead of those who have higher polling numbers.

You can view sample ballots online at the following links:

Sample Republican primary ballot in Travis County

Sample Democratic primary ballot in Travis County

Sample Republican primary ballot in Williamson County

Sample Democratic primary ballot in Williamson County

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