Texas "Two-Step" Election Process

by Hema Mullur
NewsWest 9

ODESSA -  They're calling it the "Texas Two-Step". Less than 24 hours before polls open for the Texas primaries, and some voters still aren't sure about the process.

"It's led to confusion, obviously," said Ector County Democratic Party Chair John Wilkins.  "A lot of confusion."

Cast your vote, then cast it again.  In Texas, it's perfectly legal.

"The nomination hasn't been settled yet and it's so close," said Wilkins.  "Every delegate is important."

For the first time in years, the delegate rich Lone Star State makes a difference in the Democratic Presidential Primary, and it's not just casting a ballot.

"This is what this precinct convention, or caucus is about," Wilkins said.  "It's about selecting delegates to the county convention, to the next level."

So after voting once, democratic voters can support their candidate of choice again just by showing up at their same polling place for a precinct convention, or caucus, at about 7:15 Tuesday night.

"The more people show up for a candidate, then the better chance they'll have to get more delegates," explained Wilkins.  "55 percent will be determined by the primary, 30 percent by the caucus or convention system, and then there's about a 15 percent ratio as far as the so-called 'quote un-quote' superdelegates."

The concept has many Texans confused, though Wilkins assures voters one thing.

"Do you have to show up to the precinct convention or caucus?" Wilkins said.  "No, you're vote will count just the same whether you show up or not.  But if you want to have another choice to vote for your, or express support for your presidential preference, than you need to show up at the precinct convention."

The two-step process has been around for years, and this year's hot race will hopefully have Texas democrats ready the next time around.

"You can tell by the number of voters that have voted early, we've already set records throughout the state, so there's been a lot of interest, a lot more interest than normal," said Wilkins.  "I think that's a good thing for America, it's a good thing for Texas, and a good thing for Odessa."

The Republican party also has a caucus after the polls close Tuesday, but they do not choose presidential preference and assign delegates like the Democrats.  That time is used to discuss party issues.