Williamson County: 2020 General Election Voter Guide
If you live in Williamson County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 General Election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.
You can find out which U.S. congressional, state legislative and state Board of Education districts you live in below. Then, scroll down to find the candidates in those races.
If you don't see your districts listed below, that means they're not up for election in 2020. Early voting is Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. You can find early voting polling locations here.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The president is the head of state of the United States of America and the head of the nation’s government, as well as the Commander in Chief of military forces. The president appoints Supreme Court justices, federal judges, Cabinet members and ambassadors to other nations, all of which are subject to approval by the Senate. The president also recommends legislation to Congress.
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 is up for re-election this year.
- Republican: John Cornyn*
- Democrat: Mary “MJ” Hegar
- Libertarian: Kerry Douglas McKennon
- Green Party: David B. Collins
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. Representatives are elected for two-year terms.
Texas’ 31st Congressional District includes all of Williamson County and most of Bell County to the north. The incumbent is Republican John Carter, who has held the seat since his election in 2002. He is running for his 10th term.
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 20 includes all of Burnet County and most of Williamson County (except for the area around Round Rock, Hutto and Taylor).
House District 52 encompasses Round Rock, Hutto and Taylor in Williamson County.
House District 136 represents an area of Northwest Austin, Cedar Park and Leander.
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.
Justice, Place 6
Justice, Place 7
Justice, Place 8
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.
- Republican: James “Jim” Wright
- Democrat: Chrysta Castañeda
- Libertarian: Matt Sterett
- Green Party: Katija “Kat” Gruene
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 districts — each representing about 1.8 million people — to four-year terms.
District 10 includes Williamson and Bell counties, as well as parts of Travis, Freestone, Waller and Burnet 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.
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.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
The responsibilities of the district attorney include prosecuting felony crimes and assisting law enforcement with investigations.
- Republican: Shawn Dick*
- Democrat: None
WILLIAMSON COUNTY ATTORNEY
The primary job of the Williamson County attorney is to prosecute misdemeanor criminal cases on behalf of the state and provide legal advice to county officials.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY SHERIFF
The Texas Constitution calls for one sheriff for each of the state’s 254 counties; the Williamson County sheriff is in charge of managing the county’s jail, among other things.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR
The Williamson County tax assessor-collector is responsible for overseeing the collection of property taxes and other tax-related fees. Despite the name, the office does not assess the value of taxable properties, nor does it set the property tax rate (county commissioners do that).
- Republican: Larry Gaddes*
- Democrat: None
WILLIAMSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
County commissioners draft and pass policies for the county, much like city council members do for a city. There are four county commissioners in Williamson County, plus the county judge, who is elected countywide. Two seats on the commission are up for election this year.
Precinct 1 represents the southern tip of Williamson County, including part of Austin and Round Rock.
Precinct 3 represents the central and northern parts of the county, including Georgetown.
WILLIAMSON 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 covers the southern tip of Williamson County, including part of Austin and Round Rock.
Precinct 2 covers the western part of Williamson County, including parts of Austin, Cedar Park and Leander.
Precinct 4 covers the eastern part of the county, including part of Round Rock and all of Hutto and Taylor.
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.
26th Judicial District
395th Judicial District
425th Judicial District
- Republican: Betsy F. Lambeth*
- Democrat: None
Live In Austin?
- Five seats are open on the Austin City Council. Here's who's running.
- Two measures on the ballot would fund transportation initiatives. Here's what they're about.
- Four seats are open on the Austin ISD school board. Here's who's running.