Elections

Texans: You're voting twice in May. Here's what you need to know

These are the candidates you’ll see on the Tarrant County primary runoff ballots in May

For the May 2018 Tarrant County primary runoff races, voters will be given a ballot with either Republican or Democratic candidates. Here are all of the races and candidates on both ballots.
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For the May 2018 Tarrant County primary runoff races, voters will be given a ballot with either Republican or Democratic candidates. Here are all of the races and candidates on both ballots.

Get ready, Texas voters.

There's not just one, but two elections, for you to cast ballots in this May — one on Saturday, for city and school issues, and one on May 22, the primary runoff election.

But not everyone may realize they get to vote twice this month.

"There is some possible confusion," said Heider Garcia, Tarrant County's elections administrator.

And that could mean ever fewer people than expected might cast ballots in these elections.

"Any confusion from voters ... can dramatically affect turnout.," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. "Many voters won’t be able to keep the elections straight and may assume that they can only vote in one."

Here's a look at the elections this month.

Election 1

On Saturday, May 5, Tarrant County voters will have the chance to elect city council and school board members, remove council members from office, weigh in on bond packages, such as the largest one in Fort Worth's history, and even undo economic development agreements council members already approved, such as one in Keller.

There are races in cities and school districts ranging from Arlington and Azle to Kennedale and Mansfield, as well as a $250 million bond proposal for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Election 2

Later in the month, on Tuesday, May 22, voters locally and across the state will head back to the polls for the primary runoff election.

Here's a look at the races on the Republican and Democratic primary runoff ballots in Tarrant County.

Republican primary runoff: 6th Congressional District, Ron Wright, J.K. "Jake" Ellzey; 342nd District Judge, Pat Gallagher, Kimberly Fitzpatrick; Probate Court No. 1: Patricia Cole, Chris Ponder; County tax assessor-collector, Mike Snyder, Wendy Burgess; Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, Christopher "Chris" Gregory, Jacquelyn Wright; and Justice of the Peace Precinct 6, Jason Charbonnet, Chris Garcia.

Democratic primary runoff: 6th Congressional District, Jana Lynne Sanchez, Ruby Faye Woolridge; 25th Congressional District, Chris Perri, Julie Oliver; Governor, Andrew White, Lupe Valdez; and Justice of the Peace Precinct 7, Frieda Porter, Kenneth D. Sanders.

Early voting for this election is May 14-18.

Bring this to the polls

Poll workers say it's not required for Texans to bring their voter registration cards to vote, but it is helpful.

And voters must bring a photo ID with them to the polls.

State-approved photo IDs: Texas driver’s license, Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, U.S. military ID card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo and U.S. passport.

Anyone who doesn’t have one of those IDs, and can’t get one before voting, may show another form of identification and fill out a "reasonable impediment declaration."

Check this out first

Election officials have long suggested that people review sample ballots online before heading to the polls to vote.

And they suggest people check on their polling place before heading out to make sure it hasn't changed, especially because with two elections in May, voters could end up at two different polling sites in one month. Information about both issues can be found online at access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.html.

And if you are voting by mail, you might have both ballots at your home at the same time, Garcia said.

Make sure to return each ballot in the envelope that came with it. Don't mix up the envelopes or put both ballots in one envelope, he said.

"Put them in the right envelopes," Garcia said. "It's extremely important. Your envelope helps us track that you've voted."

Anyone with questions about one or both elections should call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683. Voters statewide may call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-252-VOTE.

"We have our phones open," Garcia said. "If there's any confusion at all, reach out to us."

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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