Mayors, Trustees And Bonds On The Ballot In May's Municipal Elections In North Texas | KERA News

Mayors, Trustees And Bonds On The Ballot In May's Municipal Elections In North Texas

May 3, 2018

Saturday is Election Day in North Texas.

It’s the first of two elections for Texas voters this month. The May 5 elections are all about local matters. Some voters will vote on bond packages and decide whether to spend money on improvements like roads and schools. There are several races for city councils and mayors, as well as school boards.

(Later in May, voters will head back to the polls for primary runoff elections, determining Democratic and Republican candidates who will face off in the November midterm election. That election is May 22.) 

Local elections are often low-turnout affairs in North Texas. For example, the last time there was a contested mayor’s race in Fort Worth in 2011, just over 10 percent of registered voters showed up. Three years ago, during Dallas' mayoral election, only about 6 percent voted.

That means about 90 percent of registered voters in these two North Texas cities alone didn’t vote. As a result, a few votes can make a big difference in deciding who makes decisions about city and school development, services and how to spend local tax dollars.

Dates to know

Election Day for the municipal elections is Saturday, May 5.  Early voting ran from April 23 to May 1. The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot was April 24. The deadline to register to vote was April 5. Find out if you’re registered.

Where to vote

If voting early, you can choose which polling station to cast your ballot, as long as it’s within the county you’re registered in. On Election Day, though, you must vote at the polling place assigned to your precinct. Find your precinct.

What to bring

After a judge ruled the Texas 2011 voter ID law discriminatory, Texas scaled back on its voter ID requirements. The acceptable forms of ID now are:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • Passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented at the polling place.

If you don’t have any of the above forms of ID and there was a reasonable impediment or difficulty obtaining one, the following supporting forms of ID can be presented:

  • Valid voter registration certificate
  • Certified birth certificate (must be an original)
  • Copy of or original current utility bill
  • Copy of or original bank statement
  • Copy of or original government check
  • Copy of or original paycheck
  • Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)

After presenting a supporting form of ID, you’ll have to sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. Learn more about voter ID.

Sample ballots

Check out the sample ballots in your county below:

Election highlights

Mayoral races

Several mayors will be decided in the North Texas municipal elections.

In Dallas County, voters in Cockrell Hill, Coppell, Duncanville, Garland, Highland Park, Hutchins, Lancaster, Sunnyvale and Wilmer all have to choose their next city leader.

In Tarrant County, Kennedale has a mayoral election. Several other Tarrant County towns have uncontested mayoral races.

Collin County has three competitive mayoral races — in Farmersville, Parker and New Hope. New Hope mayor Jess Herbst made headlines last year as the first openly transgender mayor in Texas. She became  mayor in May 2016 after the previous mayor died. Now, she’s running for re-election.

In Denton County, there are contested mayoral races in Denton, Sanger, Little Elm, Highland Village, Lakewood Village and Hickory Creek.

There are also mayoral races in towns that cover more than one county, including Lewisville (in Denton and Dallas counties) and Flower Mound (in Denton and Tarrant counties).

City, school bond propositions

North Texas cities and school districts hold bond elections to let voters decide whether to spend money on local improvements, like road repairs, parks and school facilities.

In Fort Worth, voters will decide whether to spend $261 million on streets and infrastructure, $84 million on parks and recreation, nearly $10 million on public libraries, almost $12 million on fire safety improvements, $13 million on animal shelter improvements and $18 million on police facilities.

Carrollton voters have three bond items to consider: $78 million for street improvements, $6 million for public safety facilities and $22 million for parks and recreation facilities.

Rowlett voters also have three bond propositions to decide: $41 million for paving and drainage improvements, nearly $9 million for parks, trails and recreational facilities and another $9 million for public safety and facility improvements.

The city of Rockwall is voting on an $85 million bond for street and road reconstruction.

In Denton County, Oak Point voters will decide on a $5 million bond for street improvements.

In some North Texas school districts, voters will decide on bond propositions.  

Denton ISD voters will vote on a $750 million bond for construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment of school buildings in the district. Mesquite ISD voters are considering a $325 million bond for the same purpose. And Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD is proposing $199 million for school facilities.

City council members, school trustees

Most North Texas cities holding an election this May are asking voters to decide on city council members and school trustees. Trustees sit on their respective school boards and direct policy for the district. They are the link between the school district and the public.

Other races

North Texas voters will also vote on amendments to city charters, tax policies and more. Find your specific sample ballot in the Sample ballots section above.