Polls are open across the state in the first of two elections in Texas this month. Today, voters will consider proposals to amend the Texas Constitution, and a number of cities will vote on important local races including city councils, school boards and at least one effort to decriminalize marijuana.
Here are the races we’re watching, courtesy of our public news partners throughout Texas:
Texas Proposition 1 and Proposition 2
Across the state, Texans will vote on two amendments to the state Constitution – Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 – that experts say could help slow the growth of property taxes. But what, exactly, do the proposals say? Look no further:
– Here’s a breakdown of the 2 property tax propositions on Texas’ May 7 ballot (The Texas Newsroom)
– FAQ: What you need to know about the property tax proposals on your ballot (The Texas Newsroom)
Marijuana on the ballot in Austin
In the state’s capital, voters will weigh in on Proposition A, which combines two items: decriminalizing small amounts (less than 4 oz.) of weed and banning “no-knock” warrants by police. The left-leaning organization Ground Game Texas got the petition-driven initiative onto Austin’s ballot, according to KUT.
– More: Austinites get to vote on weed and no-knock warrants this election. Here’s what you need to know. (KUT)
– En Español: Residentes de Austin votarán sobre marijuana y las órdenes de registro sin previo aviso en estas elecciones. Esto es lo que necesitas saber. (KUT)
Elsewhere in Texas, other cities including Denton, Killeen and San Marcos are also considering eliminating charges for low-level marijuana possessions, but not in today’s election. Denton residents hope to have an item on November’s ballot.
– More: As Austin votes on decriminalizing marijuana, other Texas cities push for similar measures (Texas Standard)
School board races get political
Three incumbents on the Lubbock Independent School District’s Board of Trustees are facing challenges from first-time candidates, and the election cycle has been contentious – moreso among the community than the candidates themselves, Texas Tech Public Media reports.
As debates continue over what’s being taught in classrooms, political action committees have made endorsements for their candidates of choice, emphasizing candidates’ stances on mask mandates or the new skills they say challengers would bring to the table.
– More: Passion, and partisanship, fueling interest in school board races (Texas Tech Public Media)
Uncontested races in North Texas
Ballots in cities including Grapevine, Southlake and Wylie feature races in which incumbents are running unopposed. In Grapevine, two city council seats are unopposed, one being the mayor pro tem, who has served for 24 years.
Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, told KERA News that uncontested races are not uncommon and may occur when nobody feels the need to challenge a popular long-term incumbent, or when polarizing party issues actually discourage new candidates from running.
– More: A case of missing candidates: Why some incumbents are running uncontested this election (KERA News)
Replacing Garnet Coleman
The race to replace Houston state Rep. Garnet Coleman involves both a runoff and a special election — but not every voter will get to cast a ballot in both, Houston Public Media explains.
– More: Redistricting adds another wrinkle in the process to replace Houston state Rep. Garnet Coleman