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Texas has an open primary. What does that mean?

In the Lone Star State, voters don’t have to register as a Republican or Democrat to take part in a party’s primary.

DALLAS — Maybe you’ve recently moved to Texas and you’re realizing when you registered to vote in Texas, you didn’t register as a Republican or Democrat and it seems a little odd to you.

Or maybe you’ve lived in Texas all your life and you’ve heard people talking about being a registered Republican or a registered Democrat, and that seems strange to you.

In Texas, when you register to vote, you don’t register with a party.

Texas has what’s known as an open primary, meaning you can participate in whichever party’s primary you want to vote in. 

So, for example, if you voted in the Republican primary in 2018, you can vote in the Democratic primary in 2020.

Some states have closed primaries. In those states, you must register with a party. That means only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary and only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary.

One thing to remember about open primaries:  voters can’t switch party primaries during a calendar year.

That means if you vote in the Democratic primary on Super Tuesday, you can’t switch over and vote in a Republican runoff in May.

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