Apr 22, 2024 - News

What's on the May 4 ballot

Illustration of a pencil filling in a ballot with the checkbox in the shape of the state of Texas.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Early voting begins today in the May 4 election.

Why it matters: It's expected to be a low-turnout election, although the results could have an outsized impact on schools and property taxes.

Driving the news: In Travis County, voters for the first time will elect three of eight board positions for the Travis Central Appraisal District, which determines annual property valuations based on market values, for tax purposes.

  • The change comes after lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2 last year, approved by voters in the fall, creating three elected board seats in counties with populations over 75,000, to increase accountability.

What they're saying: State Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) told the Austin Chronicle this month that the appraisal district elections were "a calculated effort to bring in more conservative and Republican viewpoints into the taxation process."

  • Bill author Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) said the election isn't meant to politicize the board. "Just totally reject that concept," he told the Texas Tribune. "That's utterly false on its face."

Of note: The seats are nonpartisan, meaning voters will not see party affiliation on the ballot.

  • Well-known local Republicans — Matt Mackowiak and Don Zimmerman — are among the candidates running for the posts.
  • Learn more about each candidate from the Austin Monitor.

Voters in six districts will also decide whether to disannex from the city of Austin.

  • Texas House Bill 3053, passed last year, requires cities with 500,000 residents or more to hold disannexation elections for areas added to their city limits between March 3, 2015, and Dec. 1, 2017.
  • A vote to disannex would mean that homeowners in those areas would no longer pay Austin taxes, and the city of Austin's public services like police and fire would be replaced with Travis County services.

Also on the ballot: School board positions and propositions in Dripping Springs, Eanes and Elgin districts.

What's next: Polls are open for early voting through Monday, April 29. Find Travis County's early voting locations and hours on the county clerk's website.

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