Today is a busy day for elections.
Not only is it the first day of early voting for the May 10 local election, but also it’s the last day for Texans to register to vote in the May 27 primary runoff election.
“It can get confusing,” said Stephen Vickers, chief deputy elections administrator in Tarrant County.
With two different election dates in May come two different ballots and two different sets of polling locations for voters.
That’s why Vickers and others are encouraging voters to head to the polls early.
“We have more equipment out in the field during early voting so the lines tend to be shorter,” Vickers said. “On Election Day, you can only go to one place to vote, and the lines can form.
“Early voting gives you more options and more days to vote.”
Election officials also are reminding voters to take a valid government-issued photo ID with them to the polls, to comply with the state’s voter ID law that went into effect last year.
Early voting for the May 10 local elections runs through May 6. Early voting for the May 27 primary runoff election runs May 19-23.
May 10 election
In the local election, Tarrant County voters will choose council members and mayors and weigh in on whether to spend money on bond programs and taxes to improve city streets and reduce crime.
More than 100 races throughout Tarrant County will be on the ballot, including a $292 million bond program for Fort Worth to improve everything from libraries and roads to parks and municipal courts, and a $663.1 million bond package for the Arlington school district geared to boost fine arts, technology and transportation.
There are contested council races throughout the county, such as the race in Fort Worth to choose a new council member for District 9, to replace the departing Joel Burns. Other contested council races are on the ballot in cities including Arlington, Bedford, Colleyville, Euless, Haltom City, Mansfield and River Oaks.
And there are other proposals, such as reauthorizing the sales and use tax in Arlington to repair city streets and reauthorizing the tax for the Fort Worth Crime Control and Prevention District, on local ballots.
May 27 election
Later in May, voters will head back to the polls to settle around a dozen races left undecided in the March 4 primary elections.
“If you voted in a party primary or participated in a convention, you can only vote in that same party’s runoff,” Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry said. “If you did not vote in the March 4 primary you may still vote and can vote in the runoff election for either party.”
Local Democrats have three races to cast ballots in: U.S. Senate, Texas agriculture commissioner and State Board of Education District 13.
Local Republicans have a few more races to vote in: lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, railroad commissioner, State Board of Education District 11, Senate District 10, County Criminal Court No. 2 and 3 and Justice of the Peace Precinct 3.
Vickers recommends that voters check out polling places and sample ballots online before heading out to vote in any election.
He also said voters need to take valid photo IDs with them when they vote.
Acceptable IDs include a drivers license, a state-issued personal ID card, concealed handgun license, military ID card, citizenship certificate with photo or a passport. Any license that’s expired must not be expired for more than 60 days.
Anyone who shows up at the polls to vote without a photo ID will be given a chance to go home and bring the ID back.
If they don’t, they may cast a provisional ballot. But to make sure that vote is counted, they’ll have to take a valid photo ID to the elections office within six days of the election. Otherwise the ballot will not be counted.
Registering to vote
As of last week, Tarrant County had 976,620 registered voters, election records show.
To register to vote in Texas, a voter must be a U.S. citizen at least 17 years and 10 months old (and 18 by Election Day), must not be a convicted felon (unless the person’s sentence is completed, including probation or parole) and cannot be declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.
People who have moved or changed their name after they are registered must give election officials the new information.
Voter registration applications are available at subcourthouses, city halls, libraries and post offices — and online through Tarrant County and the secretary of state. They must be postmarked or dropped off at the election office by today.
“We haven’t been overwhelmed by any means,” Vickers said. “But they are steadily coming in at a normal pace.”
KEY ELECTION DATES
Here’s a look at important election dates and deadlines for upcoming elections.
Monday — First day of early voting for the May 10 local election; last day to register to vote for May 27 primary runoff election
May 6 — Last day of early voting for the May 10 local election
May 10 — Local election
May 19 — First day of early voting for May 27 Primary Runoff election
May 23 — Last day of early voting for May 27 Primary Runoff election
May 27 — Primary runoff election
Source: Tarrant County Elections
Early voting in Tarrant County
Early voting for the May 10 municipal election runs from Monday - May 6: from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday -May 2; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 3; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 4; and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 5-6.
• Main early voting site: Tarrant County Election Center, 2700 Premier St. Fort Worth
• Bob Duncan Center, 2800 South Center St., Arlington
• Elzie Odom Athletic Center, 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
• Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington, 4002 West Pioneer Parkway, Arlington
• South Service Center, 1100 SW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
• Tarrant County Sub‐Courthouse in Arlington, 700 E. Abram St. Arlington
• B J Clark Annex Room 4, 603 Southeast Parkway, Azle
• Bedford Public Library, 2424 Forest Ridge Dr., Bedford
• Colleyville City Hall, 100 Main St., Colleyville
• Crowley Community Center, 900 E. Glendale St., Crowley
• Euless Public Library, 201 N. Ector Dr., Euless
• Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center, 6901 Wichita St., Forest Hill
• All Saints Catholic Church Parish Hall , 200 N.W. 20th St., Fort Worth
• Diamond Hill/Jarvis Library, 1300 Northeast 35th St., Fort Worth
• Griffin Sub‐Courthouse, 3212 Miller Ave., Fort Worth
• Handley-Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St., Fort Worth
• James Avenue Service Center, 5001 James Ave., Fort Worth
• JPS Health Center Viola M. Pitts/Como Lower Level – Suite 100, 4701 Bryant Irvin Rd. N., Fort Worth
• Northwest Branch Library, 6228 Crystal Lake Dr., Fort Worth
• Riverside Community Center, 3700 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth
• Sendera Ranch Elementary School, 1216 Diamond Back Ln., Fort Worth
• Southside Community Center, 959 E. Rosedale St., Fort Worth
• Southwest Sub‐Courthouse, 6551 Granbury Rd., Fort Worth
• Summerglen Branch Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd. Fort Worth
• Tarrant County Plaza Building, 201 Burnett St. Fort Worth
• Villages of Woodland Springs Amenity Center, 12209 Timberland Blvd. Fort Worth
• Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave. Fort Worth
• Asia Times Square, 2615 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie
• Lake Park Operations Center, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie
• Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 S. Main St., Grapevine
• Haltom City Northeast Center, 3201 Friendly Ln., Haltom City
• Haslet Public Library, 100 Gammil St., Haslet
• Hurst Recreation Center, 700 Mary Dr., Hurst
• Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, Keller
• Mansfield Sub‐Courthouse, 1100 E. Broad St., Mansfield
• Richland Hills Community Center, 3204 Diana Dr., Richland Hills
• River Oaks City Hall, 4900 River Oaks Blvd., River Oaks
• John M. Tidwell Middle School, 3937 Haslet‐Roanoke Rd., Roanoke
• Eagle Mountain‐Saginaw ISD Administration Building 6 – Training Room, 1200 Old Decatur Rd., Saginaw
• City of Sansom Park City Hall, 5705 Azle Ave., Sansom Park
• Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main St., Southlake
• Watauga City Hall, 7105 Whitley Rd., Watauga
Source: Tarrant County Elections