UPDATED - MAR. 3, 2022

What’s the Primary Problem

with Texas?

Follow the 2022 primary season in real-time as Unite America tracks how partisan primaries disenfranchise voters, distort representation, and fuel political division.

UPDATED DECEMBER 2020 | GENERAL ELECTION

Only 7.8% of eligible Texans voted in primaries that effectively decided 81% of the state's U.S. representatives.

7.8%
TEXAS VOTING AGE POPULATION | 1.5M OF 18.8M
81%
TEXAS SEATS IN U.S. HOUSE | 29 OF 36
UPDATED DECEMBER 2020 | GENERAL ELECTION

Only 6.3% of eligible Texans have voted in primaries that will effectively decide 95% of the state’s U.S. representatives.

6.3%
TEXAS VOTING AGE POPULATION | 1.5M OF 18.8M
81%
TEXAS SEATS IN U.S. HOUSE | 29 OF 36

Primary Problem
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The Primary Problem?

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UPDATED - May 4, 2022

What’s the Primary Problem

with Texas?

2020

Only 7.8% of eligible Texans voted in primaries that effectively decided 81% of the state's U.S.
representatives.

UPDATED DECEMBER 2020 | GENERAL ELECTION
7.8%
TEXAS VOTING AGE POPULATION | 1.5M OF 18.8M
81%
TEXAS SEATS IN U.S. HOUSE | 29 OF 36
2022

Only 6.3% of eligible Texans have voted in primaries that will effectively decide 95% of the state’s U.S. representatives.

Updated May 4, 2022 | 3 / 50 Primaries
6.3%
TEXAS VOTING AGE POPULATION | 1.4M OF 22M
95%
TEXAS SEATS IN U.S. HOUSE | 36 OF 38

Follow the 2022 primary season in real-time as Unite America tracks how partisan primaries disenfranchise voters, distort representation, and fuel political division.

State VAP # Candidates TBD TBD
District 1> TBD TBD
10%
83%
District 3> TBD TBD
10%
83%
District 1> TBD TBD
10%
83%
District 5> TBD TBD
10%
83%
District 1> TBD TBD
10%
83%

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The Latest

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April 13th

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May 22nd

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The Primary Problem Explained

How a small minority of voters decide the vast majority of Congressional Elections, which fuels political polarization and prevents problem solving.

Disenfranchise Voters
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Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

Distort Representation
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Subtitle

Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

Distort Representation
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Subtitle
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Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

States can adopt nonpartisan primaries allowing all candidates to run on a single primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all voters to participate in the same primary.

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The Primary Problem

In 2020, just 7.8% of all Texas voters effectively elected 81% of the state’s U.S. representatives.

That’s because gerrymandering and partisan self-sorting have created “safe seats” in which the winner of the primary is all but guaranteed to win the general election. The result? A small, unrepresentative group of Texas voters determine the outcome of the majority of the state’s elections.

It’s only going to get worse in 2022. This cycle, the primaries in Texas will effectively determine the outcome in 36 of 38  (95%) of the state’s Congressional districts making the primary election the only election that matters in most of the state.

This is the Primary Problem, and it’s THE primary problem facing Texas politics today.

Data Download

Texas by the Numbers

7.8%
In 2020, just 7.8% of all Texas voters effectively elected 81% of the state’s U.S. representatives.
95%
In 2022, 95% of districts are "safe" and elections will be effectively decided in primaries
13.6%
Mid-term primary participation in Texas has averaged just 13.6% since 2010
$8.5M
Texas has spent an average of $8.5M administering primary runoffs the last two election cycles.

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The Solution

Nonpartisan Primaries Put Voters First

We can solve the primary problem by replacing taxpayer-funded partisan primaries with a single, nonpartisan primary open to all voters and all candidates. Four states have already done just that.

Candidates are rewarded for representing all of their constituents, every voice is heard, and all votes matter.

The Primary Problem report uses new data and aggregates existing research to identify what's wrong with our primary system and how it can be fixed to put voters first.

The Primary Problem report uses new data and aggregates existing research to identify what's wrong with our primary system and how it can be fixed to put voters first.