Rainy weather will greet San Antonio residents casting ballots Saturday for their next City Council members, mayor, and two ballot propositions.
Early voting drew record-breaking turnout for a municipal election, which Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said could likely be attributed to the population growth in San Antonio and Bexar County over the past few years. But there also has been a lot of community activity surrounding Proposition B, which would eliminate the current collective bargaining process that the police union uses with the City to establish a labor contract.
Grassroots organization Fix SAPD, which put the proposition on the ballot, has been growing its campaign war chest in the past few months and gained endorsements from former mayor Julián Castro, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich. The police union, which has been campaigning against Prop B, has been fundraising through its political action committee, and the “vote against Prop B” campaign has the support of conservative nonprofit San Antonio Family Association, several local pastors, and the San Antonio Central Labor Council.
Though a high-profile issue, Prop B’s outcome remains murky – the most recent Bexar Facts/KSAT/San Antonio Report polling shows that 39% of those surveyed would vote against it, 34% would vote for it, and 28% were undecided.
Proposition A had a much higher approval rating from those polled by Bexar Facts, with 56% saying they at least leaned toward voting for it. Prop A would expand the use of bond money beyond “public works,” allowing the City to put funding toward projects like affordable housing.
In the mayoral race, Mayor Ron Nirenberg is seeking a third term as he faces 13 challengers, including 2019 opponent Greg Brockhouse, a former City Council member who forced Nirenberg into a runoff two years ago. Bexar Facts polling conducted in late March showed Nirenberg holding a strong lead. And while many of the City Council races have incumbents, a few are wide open for political newcomers.
To learn about the mayoral and City Council candidates, click here.
Local residents also can weigh in on school board races on Saturday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. and through 7 p.m.
How can I determine if I’m registered to vote?
You can check your voter registration status here. All you need is your Voter ID number or Texas driver’s license number, your name, county of residence, and date of birth.
When can I vote?
Election day is Saturday, May 1. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re line to vote by 7 p.m., stay in line – you will still be able to vote!
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 listed 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; or
- 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.
If your name for some reason does not appear on the list of registered voters but you did register to vote in time, you can cast a provisional ballot.
Where can I vote?
Voters are no longer confined to specific precincts on election day and can vote at any Bexar County polling location on May 1. There are more than 240 vote centers around Bexar County, comprised of many churches, libraries, and schools. Find the closest vote center to you with this tool.
If you need a ride to a polling place, VIA Metropolitan Transit is offering free rides to people who present a valid voter registration card to the bus operator on Saturday. If you use the paratransit service VIATrans, simply schedule your ride ahead of time as usual by phone or online.
What about absentee ballots?
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
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote
The Texas Supreme Court determined in May that not having immunity to the novel coronavirus is not a “disability” does not qualify a voter to cast a ballot by mail. But the court also said that voters can consider their own health and health history to decide whether or not to apply to vote by mail due to disability.
For your vote to count, your absentee ballot must be received by the Elections Department by 7 p.m. on May 1.
What’s on the ballot?
In San Antonio, your ballot will show the candidates for your council district as well as for mayor. There also are a few propositions on the ballot to look out for. A citizen-driven petition put the repeal of Chapter 174’s implementation in San Antonio up to voters; that chapter of Texas Local Government Code allows police to collectively bargain their labor contracts with the city. And San Antonio voters will be asked to expand the use of bond money beyond public works through a proposed charter amendment.
The City of San Antonio is not the only Bexar County municipality that has items on the ballot. The following suburban cities will hold their own elections:
- City of Alamo Heights
- City of Balcones Heights
- City of Castle Hills
- City of Converse
- City of Helotes
- Town of Hollywood Park
- City of Kirby
- City of Leon Valley
- City of Live Oak
- City of Shavano Park
- City of Somerset
- City of St. Hedwig
- City of Terrell Hills
Not all of these municipalities have City Council seats up for a vote; Alamo Heights is asking voters to weigh in on a street and maintenance tax, while Converse has two annexations and a charter item on the ballot.
The Alamo Heights, Harlandale, Judson, Northside, and San Antonio independent school districts have board seats up for election.
Have more questions?
Check out VoteTexas.gov. Or ask us and we’ll find an answer for you.