Bexar County election officials are worried that a pair of May elections — first for the $1.2 billion City of San Antonio bond, then for partisan primary runoffs — will confuse and discourage voters as they head to the polls this week.

Early voting begins Monday for a May 7 election aimed at deciding whether the city should raise money for street repairs, drainage and affordable housing. Some voters will also see contests for school board seats on their ballot, and voters in Northside Independent School District will get to decide on a separate $992 million school bond. All voters will see two amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot.

A second election, held May 24, will decide whom Democrats nominate to replace retiring Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, as well a number of other runoff contests for county, state and congressional offices.

“We need to get out some education, because otherwise people are going to be very confused,” Wolff said at a Commissioners Court meeting last week. “They’re going to get upset, and then they’re not going to end up voting in the runoff.”

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen told commissioners her office was asking Republican and Democratic party officials to help alert voters about the separate votes.

“We know that most of the candidates that are on the primary runoff will be out campaigning on that Saturday. … That is going to add more confusion to [the situation],” said Callanen.

Early voting for the constitutional amendment, general, special, charter and bond election runs from Monday through May 3. Early voting for the primary runoff elections runs from May 16 through May 20.

What’s on the ballot?

The 2022-2027 city bond is divided into six propositions on the ballot:

  • streets, bridges and sidewalks ($471.6 million);
  • drainage and flood control ($169.9 million);
  • parks and recreation ($271.9 million);
  • library and cultural facilities ($58.4 million);
  • public safety facilities ($78.3 million);
  • affordable housing ($150 million).

The two statewide constitutional amendment propositions, if passed, would lower school property taxes. The first proposition would authorize the Legislature to reduce such taxes for elderly and disabled Texans. The second would increase the amount of the residence homestead exemption from school district property taxes to $40,000, up from the current $25,000.

Some area school districts have election items on the ballot, the most significant being Northside ISD’s $992 million bond and three school board seats being decided in North East ISD. Voters in Harlandale ISD also have a bond item up for approval. One Alamo Heights ISD board seat is being contested, along with one trustee position for the Alamo Colleges District. 

See a sample ballot here.

How can I determine if I’m registered to vote?

You can check your voter registration status here. All you need is your date of birth, along with either your Voter ID number, Texas driver’s license number or your name and county of residence.

When can I vote?

Early voting in the first May election starts Monday, April 25, and ends Tuesday, May 3. Election day is Saturday, May 7, and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find early voting hours here.

Where can I vote?

There are 40 early voting locations throughout Bexar County, including the Bexar County Elections Department. Voters can cast ballots at any of them. Find the full list here.

Can I vote early by mail?

You can vote by mail if you are:

  • Going to be away from your county on election day and during early voting
  • Sick or disabled
  • 65 years of age or older on election day
  • Expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after election day
  • Confined in jail but eligible to vote

You can request an application for a mail-in ballot from the Elections Department, or print one out here. For the May 7 election, applications for mail-in ballots must be received by the Elections Department by April 26. And for your vote to count, it must be received by 5 p.m. on May 9.

There have been key changes to the voting-by-mail process, causing more mail-in ballots to be rejected. To help alleviate confusion, the Bexar County Elections Department has detailed instructions here on how to make sure your vote counts.

What do I need to bring with me to vote?

You need to provide one of the following seven forms of identification:

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

If you don’t have one of the seven forms of identification above and can’t reasonably get one, you can bring one of these:

  • A copy or original of a government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
  • A copy of or original current utility bill
  • A copy of or original bank statement
  • A copy of or original government check
  • A copy of or original paycheck
  • A copy of or original of (A) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (B) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law that establishes your identity, which may include a foreign birth document.

Have more questions?

Check out VoteTexas.gov. Or ask us in the comments, and we’ll find an answer for you.

This article has been updated to correct the date of the May 24 primary runoffs.

Andrea Drusch

Andrea Drusch writes about local government for the San Antonio Report. She's covered politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Journal and Politico.