Ask 2: Why are voters being separated by party during Super Tuesday?

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: Is it illegal to separate voters by party at the polling sites?

The short answer: No, during a partisan primary. That is the type of election that is happening on Super Tuesday.

The long answer: Partisan primaries are run by each of the parties that are participating in the election, according to Rosio Torres, spokeswoman for the Harris County Clerk’s office.

The clerk’s office is only administering the election and providing guidance to the parties when asked, Torres said.

Torres said the Democratic and Republican parties have settled on the rules that govern their primaries, including the location of the 401 polling places in Harris County and the number of machines at each location.

This helps explain the long lines for some voters rather than others. For example, if the parties have decided on 10 Democratic voting machines and 10 Republican voting machines at a polling place, the lines will be much longer for one party versus the other if there are many more voters from a particular party.

Torres said there are extra voting machines in reserve that are available to help alleviate long lines, but the parties must make a request for them to be deployed.

About the Author: