Anyone who has voted early in an election is familiar with a voting center — a place where all registered voters in a county can go to cast their ballot, regardless of the precinct they live in.

The University of Texas Medical Branch hosted a polling place for the first time in November 2013, allowing registered voters of Galveston County to cast their ballots on a slate of constitutional amendments.

And now, UTMB will for the first time be a voting center for a primary election on March 4 and the May runoff, if required.

“The right and privilege to vote is one of the most treasured freedoms that we have as citizens,” said Dr. Ben Raimer, senior vice president for Health Policy and Legislative Affairs at UTMB. “We encourage our employees, students and patients to carefully study the merits of the candidates and issues and to cast their votes as informed citizens.”

William Sargent, chief deputy clerk for elections in the Galveston County Clerk’s office, said this will be the first time vote centers will be used in primary elections.

Sargent added that they were pleased with the success of the November results; of the 187 ballots cast at UTMB, 30 percent were voters who do not live in the neighborhood and another 30 percent were voters who do not live on the island.

While this might be the first primary held on campus, UTMB has a long history of helping the voting process. Ten UTMB patients were able to exercise their right to vote during the last presidential election, including one who first voted for president when Franklin D. Roosevelt was on the ballot.

Voting in the primary will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Rebecca Sealy Building, at Eighth and Postoffice streets. There will be some reserved parking spaces for voters on Postoffice Street and a reserved handicapped parking space in front.

For more information on the election, go to