What to Know about the May 1 Elections

The countdown to the May 1, 2021, uniform—i.e., local—election is on. Please make sure you are registered by April 1 to vote in this election, and take time before the election to learn about who and what will be on your local ballot.

The May uniform election is when many local political subdivisions, such as school districts and cities, elect members of their governing bodies. They may also propose bonds through which taxpayers can approve the government entity’s taking on debt to pay for certain needs, such as new buildings or road improvements. Don’t forget that public education is always on the ballot! That’s why it’s important for educators like you to research the issues that have a direct impact on your profession—particularly as they relate to school board races and K-12 school bond proposals.

School board races are especially important as school trustees are responsible for adopting policies, budgets, goals, and priorities; setting tax rates; and hiring and evaluating superintendents. Local school board-adopted policies cover so many aspects of an educator’s job, from salaries and appraisals to safety measures and even the school calendar. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school board members were the ones voting on when to open or close campuses, whether to impose safety regulations such as mask mandates, how to handle virtual instruction, and so much more. Texas has delegated much of the authority to its local communities that elect their local school trustees to govern the school district, so it’s essential you get out and vote.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can easily check your voter registration on the Texas Secretary of State’s site by clicking here. You can also find out what’s on your ballot by visiting votetexas.gov and clicking “What’s on the Ballot?”

Here are some important dates to mark on your calendar for the May 1 election:

  • Last day to register to vote: April 1
  • Vote-by-mail application due: April 20
  • Early voting: April 19–27
  • Election Day: May 1, 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Don’t forget your photo ID when heading to the polls! Voters may use one of the seven forms of photo ID listed below. For voters aged 18–69, IDs may be expired up to four years. A person 70 years of age or older may use a form of ID that has expired more than four years ago.

  • Texas driver license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC)
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas handgun license
  • U.S. military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • U.S. passport

Now’s the time for you and your colleagues, family, and friends to make your voices heard—be sure to remind them about voting in the May 1 election. Local elections are just as important as national and state elections; these elections affect your local community and everyday life. Only by coming together and acting as one voice can we truly advocate for public education! Let’s build a culture of voting by showing up to the polls during every election! Your vote matters!

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