Your November 2019 North Texas Voting Guide | KERA News

Your November 2019 North Texas Voting Guide

Nov 5, 2019

Are you ready for Election Day today? Voting can be complicated; people often find themselves unsure of where to go, what to bring and what's on the ballot. Don't fear; we've put together this guide with what you need to know to vote in North Texas.

The information below is for the election that took place Nov. 5, 2019. Click here to get a rundown of the results.

First, if you're registered and have a valid form of ID, you're ready to vote in this year's elections. If you're

not sure whether you're registered to vote, check right here. You'll find voting times and locations below.

WHAT'S ON THE BALLOT

Texas' constitutional amendments  

Statewide, there are 10 proposed constutional amendments on the ballot. More analysis on each proposition is available from the House Research Organization. You can also check out the League of Women Voters' guide. Here’s a breakdown from the Texas Tribune:

Proposition 1
What the ballot says: "The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time."

What it means: If approved, this would close the loophole that currently prohibits elected municipal court judges from serving more than one city at the same time. Currently, only appointed municipal court judges can serve multiple jurisdictions at the same time, making it more challenging for small and rural cities to find qualified candidates, some argue.

Proposition 2
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas."

What it means: This would allow TWDB to issue bonds to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects in economically distressed areas — where median household income is at or below 75 percent of the statewide median income level.

Voters approved $250 million for funding in 1989, and an additional $250 million in 2007. If the amendment passes, bonds issued by the board would not be able to exceed $200 million.

Proposition 3
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster."

What it means: This would allow the Legislature to create temporary property tax exemptions for people with property damaged in governor-declared disaster areas. If passed, the Legislature would be able to make laws determining the eligibility requirements for exemptions, as well as the duration and amount of any write-offs.

Proposition 4
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income."

What it means: This would make it more difficult for future lawmakers to enact a personal income tax in Texas, requiring support from two-thirds of the House and Senate and a majority of Texas voters. Currently, the state Constitution requires that any proposal be approved a majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate, and a majority of voters in a state-wide referendum.

Proposition 5
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes."

What it means: This would earmark all revenue from the sporting goods sales tax for the state parks and wildlife department and historic commission, as intended when the tax was created in 1993. In the past, the Legislature has not appropriated all available tax revenue to TPWD and THC.

Proposition 6
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas."

What it means: This would allow the Legislature to double the maximum amount of bonds it can issue on behalf of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to $6 billion.

Proposition 7
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund."

What it means: This would allow the General Land Office, the State Board of Education and other entities to double the amount of revenue they can provide the Available School Fund each year. The Available School Fund provides classroom materials and funding for Texas schools.

Proposition 8
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects."

What it means: This would create a flood infrastructure fund that the Texas Water Development Board could use to finance projects following a disaster.

Proposition 9
What's on the ballot: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”

What it means: This would allow the legislature to create a property tax exemption for precious metals held in state depositories — like the Texas Bullion Depository scheduled to open next year in Leander.

Proposition 10
What's on the ballot: "The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances."

What it means: It would allow for former handlers or qualified caretakers to adopt retired law enforcement animals without a fee. 

In Dallas County

There is a special election in Dallas County for Texas House District 100. This seat was left open after Eric Johnson became Dallas mayor. There are four candidates running, all Democrats: James Armstrong, Lorraine Birabil, Daniel Clayton and Sandra Crenshaw. Turnout was light during the first week of early voting, The Dallas Morning News reported: “That small turnout means the candidates will have to run effective campaigns that target reliable voters and coax them to the polls. The candidates agree that the district needs solutions for better education, health care and other issues, including reducing crime and police violence.”

The Richardson school district is holding its first election since it settled a lawsuit over how school board members are elected. Voters will choose candidates to represent three single-member districts. Earlier this year, Richardson ISD trustees voted to change how school board members are elected. They abolished the system of seven at-large districts and moved to five single-member geographic districts plus two at-large seats. The decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by former school board member David Tyson, the only African-American to serve as an RISD trustee. Tyson claimed that by having only at-large districts that RISD denied fair representation of voters of color.

Check out this sample ballot with a full list of what voters will see in Dallas County.

In Tarrant County

Voters in the Tarrant County College District will decide on a $825 million bond package. This is the first bond proposition for the school in 25 years. The bond money would fund new and upgraded classrooms, libraries, student services and other facility improvements. It’ll also pay for parking, flood mitigation and physical plant improvements in some of the oldest buildings.

College officials say the bond package would not increase the property tax rate, about 13 cents per $100 of property valuation.

Arlington ISD also has a $966 million bond package on the ballot. Officials say the program is focused on school building upgrades, as well as improvements in fine arts, transportation, security and technology. Some of the items would include new school buses, renovations to full-day pre-K classrooms, new playgrounds for all elementary schools and new fine arts instruments and uniforms. Money would also pay for improvements to aging school buildings. High school campuses would get electrical and plumbing upgrades, as well as interior renovations.

There's also a single Fort Worth ISD board seat on the ballot — a special election for District 4. 

Tarrant County's website has a full list of sample ballots. 

In Denton County

The city of Denton has four bond propositions on the ballot — a $222 million package. Proposals include funding for street improvements, police facilities, land acquisitions for parks and public art. Most of the money – about $150 million – would be spent on street improvements, such as constructing and reconstructing streets, sidewalks and storm drains. About $60 million would go toward public safety, including renovations to police headquarters and a new police substation in south Denton.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reports: "Some of Denton’s growth is triggering the needs in the first place, including Hickory Creek Road and Ryan Road in southern Denton and Bonnie Brae Street in western Denton which are all too small for their traffic load."

There are a range of other propositions on the ballot in the county, including the Northlake district and the Smiley Road Water Control district. Here's a full sample ballot

In Collin County

There are races for mayor in Weston, Lowry Crossing and Princeton, as well as a range of propositions across county districts. Here's a sample ballot

WHERE TO VOTE & WHEN

» DALLAS COUNTY

Voters in Dallas County can vote at any polling place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You do not have to vote at a specific precinct. Use this polling location finder with a map view to find the most convenient location, or check out this list of locations.

» TARRANT COUNTY

Tarrant County voters can also vote at any polling place in the county. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find a polling location here, or view a list of the locations with addresses.

» COLLIN COUNTY

Vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters have been able to vote at any polling place in the county for several years. Click here and scroll down for a list of Election Day polling places.

» DENTON COUNTY

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 a.m. Type in your address here to find a polling location.

» MORE NORTH TEXAS COUNTIES

Get voting information at the following county websites:

WHAT TO BRING TO THE POLLS
If you don't have one of these forms of ID, you can bring a supporting document like a utility bill or paycheck and fill out a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration" form at your polling place.
Credit VoteTexas.gov

One of seven forms of ID will get you into a voting booth. 

  • Texas driver's license 
  • Texas election identification certificate (EIC) issued by the Department of Public Safety 
  • Texas personal ID card issued by DPS 
  • Texas handgun license issued by DPS 
  • U.S. military ID card containing your photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing your photograph
  • U.S. passport, book or card

» What if your ID is expired?

That's OK, to a degree. 

  • For voters age 18-69: Except for the U.S. citizenship certificate, which doesn't expire, the ID you bring to the polls must have expired no more than four years before. 
  • For voters 70 and older: You can use one of the seven forms of ID to vote, regardless of how long it's been expired, as long as it's otherwise valid.

» What if you don't have one of the seven acceptable forms of voter ID?

The state lists other forms of identification, like a utility bill or birth certificate, that you can use to vote if you don't "possess an acceptable form of photo identification, and cannot reasonably obtain one."

In addition to presenting that secondary form of ID, you'll also need to fill out a "Reasonable Impediment Declaration" form.

» What if you're a voter with special needs?

Remember that a person of your choosing or an election worker can assist you at the polls. The only exception is that person can not be your employer or someone who represents your employer, or an officer or representative of your union.

If you're physically unable to enter the polling location, you can even vote curbside. Send somone into the polling location to request an election worker meet you at the curb. If you're planning on arriving alone, call ahead to your county's elections office.

The Texas Tribune and KERA's Stella M. Chávez, Christopher Connelly and Christy Robinson contributed to this report.

Updated 10:35 a.m. Nov. 4