More than 11,000 local voters already have cast ballots in the upcoming May 11 election, up slightly over the local turnout at this time two years ago.The hot button issues that seem to driving at least some of the turnout include the Birdville school bond election that would close some schools, and a proposal in Grapevine to impose term limits on elected city officials.Everything has been running pretty good, Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said. There have been no major problems.Contested races on the ballot include Arlington mayor, four City Council seats in Fort Worth and three in Arlington, two Fort Worth school trustee posts and three seats on the Tarrant Regional Water Districts board of directors.By the end of voting Wednesday, 9,506 votes were cast in person in Tarrant County, compared with 9,269 cast through the same time period in 2011, according to local election records.Through mid-afternoon Thursday, 11,134 voters had cast ballots this week, election records show.While there are 940,629 registered voters in Tarrant County, Raborn said hes not sure turnout for this May election will reach double digits. Local May elections generally see a fairly low turnout.But this years election is already much different than last year.Last years elections were thrown into turmoil when federal officials shot down redistricting maps drawn by the GOP-led state legislature and left the ultimate election day up in the air for months. Officials ultimately pushed the primary date to late May to ensure that different maps could be in effect for Election Day.That made the local and school elections in May the first election of the year, rather than potentially the third after the primary election and any runoff needed to settle those races.It was a difficult election year, Raborn said. This year, we are back to normal, so it actually seems kind of quiet.Early voting ends May 7. Mail-in ballots must be returned to the elections office by Election Day, May 11.Photo identification requirements are still not in effect in Texas because they have not received federal approval. So to vote, take your voter registration certificate, a drivers license, utility bill or other mail from a governmental entity to the polls.See a sample ballot here. For more information, call the Tarrant County Elections Center, 817-831-8683.
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley