Early voting begins Monday for the May 24 primary runoff elections, taking place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at The HUB, 304 E. Ferguson St. in Tyler.
In the race to fill the seat being vacated by state Sen. Kevin Eltife, of Tyler, state Rep. Bryan Hughes, of Mineola, and state Rep. David Simpson, of Longview, will meet in the Republican runoff. They drew the most votes in a field of four candidates March 1.
There's no Democrat on the ballot in November, so the winner May 24 will be sworn in to the Texas Senate in January.
In the Texas House District 5 race (that's the seat being vacated by Hughes for his Senate run), Lindale businessman Jay Misenheimer will face Mount Pleasant builder Cole Hefner. There's no Democrat on the November ballot, so this vote will decide the seat.
East Texans also will choose a Republican nominee for the State Board of Education. Retired Mineola teacher Mary Lou Bruner faces Lufkin school board president Dr. Keven Ellis. The winner of this contest will go against Amanda M. Rudolph, the Democratic candidate for the seat, in November.
In Smith County, the Precinct 4 constable race is going into a runoff. The top two candidates, incumbent Constable John Smith and challenger Josh Joplin, will face off. Smith won 39.1 percent of the Precinct 4 GOP votes, while Joplin took 23.9 percent.
Some statewide races are also on the Republican ballot; they include Railroad Commissioner (Wayne Christian faces Gary Gates), the Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2 (Mary Lou Keel versus Ray Wheless) and the Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5 (between Scott Walker and Brent Webster).
Democrats in Smith County have only one race on their ballots - Cody Garrett and Grady Yarborough for railroad commissioner.
Who can vote in a runoff? That gets a little complicated. Texas has open primaries, meaning that anyone can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. And that's still true of the primary runoff, but voters have to be consistent.
If a voter cast a ballot in the March 1 GOP primary, then he or she can only participate in the GOP primary runoff. If a voter cast a ballot in the Democratic primary, he or she can vote in the Democratic runoff.
But they can't switch.
Voters who didn't participate in either primary election can vote in either primary runoff.