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Hays County: 2020 Primary Elections Voter Guide

Salvador Castro for KUT

If you live in Hays County, here are all the races that might appear on your ballot for either the Democratic or Republican primary. Put your address into the tool below to find out which Congressional, state legislative and State Board of Education districts you're in, then scroll down to find the candidates in those races.

If you don't find your districts listed below, that means they're not up for election in 2020. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk. 


U.S. Senate

Every state in the U.S. elects two people to represent them in the U.S. Senate, which is the upper chamber of Congress. They are elected statewide for six-year terms. Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s term is up for re-election this year. About a dozen Democrats are vying to challenge him in the November election.

U.S. House of Representatives

Texas has 36 seats in the House of Representatives, which is the lower chamber of Congress. The total number of representatives is currently set at 435; the number of seats a state is given is based on population. The average population in a congressional district, based on the 2010 census, is 710,767. That number will change with the 2020 census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms. 

Texas’ 21st Congressional District runs from Southwest Austin down through San Marcos and New Braunfels to northern parts of San Antonio. The district also covers the Hill Country, including Boerne, Johnson City and Fredericksburg. 

The seat is currently held by Republican Chip Roy, who was first elected in 2018. Two Democrats are running to challenge him this year, including former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

Texas’ 25th Congressional District includes all or parts of 13 counties. It runs from Tarrant County, which it grabs just a sliver of, all the way down the western halves of Travis and Hays counties.

The incumbent is Republican Roger Williams, a former Texas secretary of state and car dealer. He won his first election to the office in 2012 and has served four terms.

Texas’ 35th Congressional District includes parts of six counties, running from the eastern part of Travis County down to the eastern part of Bexar County. 

The incumbent is Democrat Lloyd Doggett. Doggett was first elected to Congress in 1994. Because of redistricting, he’s been shuffled around to three different districts, the 10th, 25th and currently the 35th. He is seeking a 14th term.


Texas Senate

This is the upper chamber of the state Legislature. It consists of 31 members, each representing about 800,000 Texans. They are elected to four-year terms. Along with the Texas House of Representatives, the state Senate drafts and passes state laws, policies and budgets. The Legislature meets for 140 days during odd-numbered years, though the governor can call special sessions outside that time frame. 

Senate District 21 runs from the Rio Grande Valley all the way up to the southeastern part of Travis County.

Texas House

The Texas House is the lower chamber of the state Legislature. It consists of 150 members, who are elected every two years. Along with the state Senate, the House drafts and passes state laws, policies and budgets. The Legislature meets for 140 days during odd-numbered years, though the governor can call special sessions outside that time frame. 

House District 45 represents all of Blanco and Hays counties.

Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resort for civil cases involving state law. Those are cases that deal with lawsuits between people, businesses and organizations – as opposed to criminal cases. Legal decisions made by the state Supreme Court are final and binding under state law.

The court is made up of eight justices and one chief justice, who are elected to six-year terms in partisan statewide elections. Four places on the court are up for election this year. 

Chief Justice: While the chief justice oversees the court, each member has one equal vote in issuing decisions. The chief justice assigns the other justices administrative duties, like who will run disciplinary proceedings for lawyers and who will be the court’s liaison to the state bar. The chief justice also appoints judges to cases, if lower court judges have to recuse themselves. Every legislative session, the chief justice delivers a “state of the judiciary” address to Texas lawmakers.

Justice, Place 6

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

Justice, Place 7

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

Justice, Place 8

While each state Supreme Court justice is assigned a “place,” they are elected statewide. The place designation has no significance beyond where they are listed on the ballot.

Railroad Commission 

Don’t let the name confuse you, the Railroad Commission of Texas has nothing to do with railroads. The name is just a throwback to a time when it did.

Nowadays the Railroad Commission regulates the powerful oil, gas and mining industries in Texas. It is responsible for ensuring pipeline safety, enforcing rules over drilling and production, and overseeing natural gas utilities, among other things. As such, it is often at the center of battles over public safety and the environment.

The commission is overseen by a three-member Board of Railroad Commissioners who are elected statewide. One of those seats is on the 2020 ballot. 

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education oversees education policy and standards for public schools. The board’s tasks include overseeing state funding, establishing graduation requirements for high schools, choosing instructional materials and adopting curriculum standards.

The 15 members of the board are elected by district — each representing about 1.8 million people — to four-year terms. 

SBOE District 5 includes Blanco, Caldwell, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Llano, Mason, San Saba and parts of Bexar and Travis counties.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

This is the highest criminal court in Texas, with ultimate say over criminal appeals, including death penalty cases. Judges on the nine-judge panel are elected statewide to six-year terms.

Place 3

Place 4

 Place 9

Third Court of Appeals

This is, unshockingly, an appeals court – meaning it hears cases after they've been ruled upon and one party thinks the ruling isn't right. This six-justice panel hears both civil and criminal cases from an area that covers 24 counties including Austin and surrounding areas.

The chief justice of this court is up for election this year. 

Hays County

District Judges

District courts have countywide geographical jurisdiction, and the district judges are elected countywide to four-year terms. District courts are trial courts of general subject-matter jurisdiction. They hear felony criminal prosecutions, suits for divorce, election contests, juvenile cases, and civil suits with an amount in controversy of at least $200 with no ceiling.

22nd Judicial District

  • REPUBLICANS: R. Bruce Boyer*

453rd Judicial District

Hays County Court-at-Law No. 3

This judge has jurisdiction over civil cases (involving disputes between $500 and $200,000), probate, guardianship, and class A and B misdemeanor cases. There are two other Courts at Law in Hays County, but only this one is up for election in 2020.

Hays County Sheriff

The county sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of Hays County. The sheriff enforces traffic regulations, operates the county jail, investigates crimes and makes arrests. 

Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector

Hays County Commissioner

County commissioners draft and pass policies for the county, much like city council members do for a city. There are four county commissioners in Hays County, plus the county judge, who is elected countywide. Three seats on the commission are up for election this year.

Precinct 1 covers most of Hays County east of I-35 from the southern county line into Kyle. It also includes much of San Marcos, including some portions west of I-35.

Precinct 3 occupies the northeastern corner of the county, including much of Kyle and the cities of Buda and Niederwald.

Hays County Constable

A constable is a commissioned peace officer, elected by county constituents every four years for a particular area or precinct of that county. A constable may enforce any criminal and civil law or motor vehicle violation and conduct criminal investigations. 

Precinct 1

Precinct 2

Precinct 3

Precinct 4

  • REPUBLICANS: Ron E. Hood*

Precinct 5

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1

Justice of the peace courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal cases punishable by fine only. They can issue search and arrest warrants, conduct preliminary hearings, administer oaths and perform marriages. This court also functions as a small claims court.

Place 1

* incumbent

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