Early voting begins Monday for municipal elections across North Texas. It’s a crowded field of council and school board candidates this year -- hundreds of candidates in scores of races across the region. Yet, 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. Two years ago, during Dallas' mayoral election, only about 6 percent voted.
That means upwards of 90 percent of registered voters in these two North Texas cities alone didn’t vote. As a result, a few votes can make a huge difference in deciding who makes decisions about development, services and how to spend local tax dollars.
Dates To Know
Early voting runs from April 24 to May 2. Election Day is Saturday, May 6. The deadline to register to vote was April 6. Find out if you’re registered here.
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. You can find which precinct you’re in here.
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
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.
Notable Races In North Texas
There are several contested races for Dallas City Council.
The race that appears to be attracting the most attention: District 14. Incumbent Philip Kingston faces two candidates, including Matt Wood. Wood is getting support from high-profile people like former Mayor Ron Kirk and former Police Chief David Brown. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who doesn’t endorse candidates who challenge incumbents, told The Dallas Morning News he would probably vote for Wood if he lived in the district.
In District 4, incumbent Carolyn King Arnold faces Dwaine Caraway. In District 11, incumbent Lee Kleinman faces Candy Evans. In District 6, incumbent Monica Alonzo faces several candidates.
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne is not running for re-election. Four candidates are running for her position. A City Council race features Abdel Elhassan, the uncle of a teenager who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school -- an incident that attracted international news coverage. Irving’s been at the center of anti-Muslim controversy in the past.
Fort Worth’s municipal election has drawn 21 candidates, the largest the city has seen in four years. Probably the most heated race in Fort Worth is for a council seat on the Northside, which councilman Sal Espino announced he would step down from last fall after years of serving on the council. Now, there are four contenders to replace him. Compare the candidates’ platforms here.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has a challenger. Chris Nettles is a 29-year-old Tarrant County court clerk and pastor. Nettles is facing an uphill battle against the popular and well-financed Price, a former county tax collector who’s known for her health and literacy initiatives. According to the most recent filings, Price raised more than $494,000, compared to $4,535 for Nettles. In this race, he’s focusing on building support among young folks especially, and he’s pitching himself as someone who can bring fresh ideas to City Hall.
In Tarrant County’s second largest city, Arlington, Mayor Jeff Williams is facing a challenge after he helped rally voters to approve city funds to help build a $1 billion ballpark for the Texas Rangers. The challenge comes from Chris “Dobi” Dobson, a substitute teacher who has run for city council before. KERA's Christopher Connelly has a roundup of the Tarrant County races to watch.
The Dallas Morning News put together a database of more than 200 candidates running in the May 6 municipal elections. This tool will allow you to enter your address and compare candidates in races in your district.
Plano Mayoral Forum
You can check out the sample ballots in your county below:
- Dallas County Sample Ballot
- Tarrant County Sample Ballot
- Denton County Sample Ballot
- Collin County Sample Ballot
This post will be updated with more election news, including Election Day polling places.