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Politics

The Deadline To Register To Vote In Austin's May Election Is Today

People wait in line to vote in October 2020.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Austin has an election May 1. The deadline to register is 10 days away.

There are eight City of Austin propositions on the May 1 election ballot. To participate, you must be registered to vote by April 1.

The propositions address local issues including campaign finance, election dates, the structure of Austin's city government and anti-camping ordinances that would affect people experiencing homelessness.

You can check your voter registration status on the Texas Secretary of State's website.

To register to vote in Travis County, you can visit the Travis County Tax Office in person. You can also mail in a voter registration card available from a public library or post office or printed from VoteTexas.gov. Your card or printout must be postmarked by April 1 to be able to vote in the upcoming election. Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, said he recommends mailing it at least two to three days before that deadline.

“In the November election, we probably had a thousand applications that I bet were mailed on time and didn’t get a timely postmark,” Elfant said.

Williamson County residents can drop off or mail completed voter registration cards to the Elections Department in Georgetown. Check your voter registration information here.

If you were already registered, but have changed your name or moved within a county, you can update your registration information here. If you are getting a new driver's license, you can choose to register or update the address on your voter registration information.

Travis County has 97% of voting-aged citizens registered to vote. Elfant said that’s more than any other urban county in the state. Pre-COVID, the county had thousands of volunteer deputy registrars stationed at public events, farmers’ markets, city parks, music concerts and local businesses to register new groups of qualified voters.

Those registration efforts are slowly ramping up again to register people who are turning 18 years old, becoming United States citizens, moving into the county, or coming out of prison and having their voting rights returned.

But despite the high voter registration rate, these kinds of local elections see less than a 20% turnout, Elfant said, whereas the presidential election this past November saw about a 70% turnout.

“The City of Austin has a bunch of [propositions] in May that are going to have profound impacts on our community,” Elfant said. “And we can either do that or we can sit on the sidelines and let other people do that. But the higher the voter turnout, the more representative the outcome.”

Early voting begins April 19.

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