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An Austin-area guide to the May 4 local election

People are cast in the shadow of a building as they exit. A sign that says, "Vote aqui here" is at the forefront.
Alyssa Olvera
KUT News
School board positions, city taxes and races affecting property values could be on your ballot.

Lee esta historia en español

On May 4, voters in the Austin area will decide on a number of city-level races and propositions.

Do you care about how your kid's school spends money, or what policy decisions it makes? Some school board positions and school budget items are on the ballot. Do you want to decide on funding for parks and roads? Depending on your location, those are up for a vote, too.

Here’s what you need to know.

What's on the ballot?

Here are a couple things to look out for in Travis County:

  • For the first time ever, residents get to vote on three board seats for the Travis Central Appraisal District. TCAD assesses property values and therefore indirectly influences how much property tax you pay and how much funding goes to schools, local roads and emergency services. The board doesn't directly determine property values, but members are responsible for the organization's budget and hiring the chief appraiser, who leads a team of appraisers for the district. Learn more about the candidates and what's at stake in this race.
  • Six local districts get to vote on whether to leave the City of Austin. That essentially means these areas will no longer be taxed by the city (after paying back debts that already exist) and won't have access to certain city services, like Austin Police and Austin Fire. Travis County will provide those services instead. You can learn more about the areas affected and why it matters here.

Here are sample ballots covering everything people can vote on in your county:

To see a version that has only the items that will be on your specific ballot, type in your address at VOTE411.

Important dates

  • April 22 to April 30 — Early voting
  • April 23 — Deadline to submit a mail-in ballot application (received, not postmarked)
  • May 4 — Election Day

Am I registered to vote?

You can go to the Texas Secretary of State's website to check your registration anywhere in the state. If it turns out you're not registered, the deadline for this election has passed — but you can visit the Vote Texas site to learn how to register for future elections.

When and where can I vote?

You have to vote at a polling location in the county where you live.

Travis County voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Find a location below:

You can check live wait times on the Travis County website.

    Find Williamson County voting locations and hours on the county's website.

      Find Hays County voting locations and hours on the county's website.

      What do I bring with me to the polls?

      Make sure to bring a photo ID when you vote. Acceptable forms of ID include:

      • Texas driver's license
      • Texas election identification certificate
      • Texas personal identification card
      • Texas handgun license
      • U.S. military identification card that includes your photograph
      • U.S. citizenship certificate that includes your photograph
      • U.S. passport 

        The ID can be expired for up to four years. If you're 70 or older, you can bring a photo ID that has been expired for any length of time.
        If you had trouble getting an ID, here are the alternatives you can bring to the polls:

        • government document showing your name and an address, such as your voter registration certificate
        • current utility bill
        • bank statement
        • government check
        • paycheck
        • certified birth certificate or court admissible birth document

        All of these documents can either be a copy or the original. If you use one of these, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.

        What not to do at the polls

        Remember that you can't use cellphones, cameras, computers or any kind of recording device within 100 feet of voting booths. If you were planning to have some notes on your phone, print them out instead.

        You also can't wear clothes or accessories relating to a candidate, political party or measure on the ballot.

        Voting by mail?

        In Texas, you can only vote by mail if you:

        • won't be in the county you're registered in during early voting and on Election Day
        • are sick or disabled
        • are expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day
        • are 65 or older on Election Day
        • are in prison or involuntary civil commitment, but are otherwise eligible

        The deadline to submit a request for a mail-in ballot is April 23. To vote by mail, print the “Application for Ballot by Mail” or submit an online request for it to be mailed to you. Fill out the required sections and sign your name with the date, then mail or fax the completed application to the early voting clerk in your county. You can visit the Texas Secretary of State website for more guidance.

        The Austin-area League of Women Voters has also put together a guide to voting by mail for Central Texas voters, which you can find on the organization's website.

        There are some extra deadlines you should keep in mind if you're voting by mail:

        • Postmarked: May 4 by 7 p.m.
        • Post received: May 6 by 5 p.m.
        • In-person received: May 4 by 7 p.m.

        Once you’ve returned your mail-in ballot, you can check its status on the Texas Secretary of State's website.


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