It’s Election time! Cities and municipalities across Texas are preparing to elect their city councils and school boards, and vote on crucial issues like police accountability in San Antonio and whether or not you’ve gotta be a registered voter to serve on a board or commission in Dallas. At MOVE Texas, we’re all about local democracy, it’s where we started out, and we want to make sure you know everything you need to know to weigh in and cast your vote.

Voting can be confusing af, we know. So we’re here to break it down for you. Get all the info you need to vote in the upcoming San Antonio and Dallas municipal elections.

Wait… what is a Municipal Election?

A Municipal Election is an election held within a city, town, or rural municipality to elect local representatives, such as mayors, city council members, and school boards, as well as vote on ballot propositions. 

Civics 101: A ballot proposition is a mechanism that gives voters the opportunity to introduce initiatives or to get a direct say in the direction they think their city should take on a specific issue. It could look like a bond election, a referendum, or a charter amendment, and it’s generally placed on the ballot for either the approval or rejection of the voters. 

Some cities, like San Antonio and Fort Worth, live for the drama and have both their entire City Council and Mayor seats up for grabs this May! Meanwhile a city like Austin won’t necessarily have any candidates on the ballot but, similarly to San Antonio, Dallas, and Lubbock, will be voting on a series of important propositions.

Boy, for a state that makes it so hard to vote, we sure do love elections! 

Everything You Need to Make a Plan to Vote

Important Point 👉🏽: The deadline to register for the May 1st Municipal Election was April 1st, 2021. Click here to check if you’re registered to vote! 

Early Voting

Only cuties vote early (if you vote early you’re a cutie, that’s the rule). It’s the best, most flexible, and absolute safest way to vote! 

  • Begins Monday, April 19th and goes on through Tuesday, April 27th

Type your address to find your nearest Early Voting polling locations here! 

Voting by Mail

According to the Texas Secretary of State (the person in charge of our elections), you are eligible to vote by mail if you are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Disabled 
  • Out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance
  • Confined in jail, but otherwise eligible

The deadline to apply for a vote by mail ballot is Tuesday, April 20th. To be clear, your county election’s department must receive your application by the deadline. Find an application here. Once you receive your ballot after you apply, make sure it is returned to your county’s elections department by no later than May 1st. 

Election Day 

We’re celebrating vaccines as much as you are, but remember y’all we’re still in a whole pandemic. Although we wish the state could have done more for you, sadly so many will still have to choose between their health and their vote come Election Day. If you choose to go to the polls, once again, wear your mask, wear gloves, bring hand sanitizer, bring your own pen, and keep your distance. 

  • Municipal Election Day: Saturday, May 1st

If you see your county on this list, yeehaw! It means your county participates in the “countywide polling place program” which is a fancy way of saying you can vote at *any* polling place in your county on Election Day, not just at your assigned precinct location. Yay for pro-voter convenience.
You’ve made it this far – you can have a lil playlist as a treat! We put together some of our favorite Texans to listen to while you’re in line to vote. Thanks for being a voter!

What You Need to Bring:

All you’ll need to actually vote is a little time out of your day one valid form of I.D. The acceptable forms of ID are 

  • Texas Driver License 
  • Texas Election Certificate
  • Texas Personal I.D.
  • Texas Handgun License 
  • U.S. Military I.D. (w/ picture)
  • Citizenship or Naturalization Certificate (w/ picture)
  • U.S. Passport (book or card)

If you don’t have access to any of these, you can request a “Reasonable Impediment Declaration” and present any one of these alternative forms of identification:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Current Utility Bill 
  • Government Check
  • Paycheck 
  • Any other government document with your name and address

Video Voter Guide

This year, we thought we’d change it up a bit and get a little self directed videos going. Democracy diaries? Candidate confessionals? Ignore us. Anywayssss, we asked candidates for the San Antonio and Dallas municipal elections to submit a short video to MOVE Texas breaking down to young voters why they deserve your vote.

We know that young people care about voting rights, climate justice, and criminal justice reform and want elected officials who do too, so we asked each of em’ to talk about it!

As much as we hate to say it, not everyone got back to us, so for some candidates we’ve gathered up their campaign website information in a one stop shop for you so that there’s still something to reference while you’re making your decision on who to vote for.

Check back soon to find your Dallas candidates here and your San Antonio candidates here!

Propositions

MOVE Texas is supporting Prop B in San Antonio. Prop B is all about police accountability. It increases the city’s ability to hold the police accountable by repealing Chapter 174 of the government code, which San Antonio incorporates.

Chapter 174 structures the police contract that covers officers. That contract is negotiated by the San Antonio Police Association. Chapter 174 creates these circumstances, from our friends over at FixSAPD:

  • Supercedes any local attempts to increase police accountability.
  • Gives officers the upper-hand when misconduct disputes are brought to the attention of local governments. 
  • Allows police association contracts to overrule important public accountability provisions

So many young Texans marched for racial justice and in support of the black lives matter movement this past Summer stoked by anger and grief at regular and frequent police brutality, abuse, and misconduct. Proposition B will increase democratic control of our police and it’s passage would be a step in the right direction for racial justice, for black lives in particular, as a result.

Our allies at FixSAPD have compiled a bunch of great data that outlines why the passage of Proposition B would be so transformational. Visit their resource page for more information.