Early voting is underway — here’s an overview of elections taking place in Presidio County

PRESIDIO COUNTY — Early voting for local May 7 general and special elections started this Monday, April 25, across the state. In addition to a county election in which voters will decide on two constitutional amendments relating to property taxes, the cities of Marfa and Presidio will also host elections. 

In a special election in Marfa, voters will determine whether or not to reauthorize a quarter cent sales tax for street improvement projects which has been in place for twenty years. In Presidio, general and special elections will decide the fate of the town’s city council in which all five seats are up for grabs. 

The deadline to register to vote in the May 7 election has passed — to find out if you are registered to vote, visit the secretary of state’s website. Voters will be asked to present a valid form of identification at polling locations.

Presidio County: 

Two amendments to the Texas Constitution, both relating to homestead exemptions and property taxes, will appear on the county ballot. Voters across the state will vote on these two amendments, which, if passed, would see the state increasing funding for schools as a result of decreasing property taxes. 

Proposition 1 — which has received criticism for being lengthy, totaling 77 words, and unclear — if passed, would continue to freeze and lower over time school property tax bills for those who are disabled or over age 65. 

Proposition 2, if passed, would increase the general homestead exemption for public school taxes from $25,000 to $40,000. 

In Marfa, early voting will take place from Monday, April 25 to Saturday, April 30 as well as Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Casner Room at City Hall. On election day, May 7, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. also at the Casner Room. Polls will be open through lunchtime during early and election day voting. 

In Presidio, early voting will take place from Monday, April 25 to Saturday, April 30 as well as Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Presidio Annex Building C. On election day, May 7, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. also at Presidio Annex Building C.

Runoff elections will take place later in May on the 24th. There are no county-level races in the runoff elections for Presidio County. More information on the runoff elections can be found here. The Big Bend Sentinel will post times and locations for voting in the May 24 runoff when they become available. 

City of Marfa: 

In Marfa, local joint elections held each May determine the makeup of the city council and Marfa ISD school board, however this year both elections have been canceled due to a lack of candidates vying for the positions. Candidates will simply be appointed to fill the roles for which they applied due to a lack of contested races. But unlike the school board, where all seats have been filled, the city council only had two candidates apply to fill three expired seats, meaning one seat remains vacant. 

Current council member Eddie Pallarez will serve for a second term, and new, soon-to-be council member Mark Cash will fill in another open seat. As a matter of public transparency, Pallarez and Cash will appear on the ballot as “unopposed candidates declared elected.” 

Council members Buck Johnston and Yoseff Ben-Yehuda will exit office in late May or early June. Once the new council is sworn in, they will vote whether to solicit letters of interest from the public in order to appoint a new council member or to host a special election this coming November in order to fill the seat. 

While the city canceled its general election due to few city council and school board candidates, it will host a special election regarding a local initiative to reauthorize a one-quarter of one-percent sales tax for street and roadway maintenance and improvements. The quarter cent tax has been in place since 2002 and must be reauthorized by voters every four years. 

Since its implementation in 2002, the city has collected $991,000 in sales tax for street maintenance, which both residents and non-residents pay into. Recently, the city has utilized the sales tax for street maintenance to seal coat N. Spring, S. Hill/Gonzales, E. Dallas, W. Texas, S. Summer, Hartford and Edinburg Streets and repave S. Yale, S. Hoover, S. Ridge, S. Austin, S. Dean and S. Spring streets. 

Early voting will take place from Monday, April 25 to Saturday, April 30 as well as Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Casner Room at City Hall. On election day, May 7, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. also at the Casner Room. Polls will be open through lunchtime during early and election day voting. To see a sample ballot, visit the city’s website

City of Presidio: 

The city of Presidio hosts a joint election with Presidio ISD every two years. In the upcoming general election voters will decide exclusively on city council candidates because there are no expired school board terms. 

The city of Presidio will hold a general and special election in order to fill all five of the city council vacancies. Three seats will be up for election as a part of the general election, while two will be up for election as a part of the special election because there are open seats for unexpired terms. All candidates will appear on one ballot. 

Voters may choose three candidates out of a total of four to serve for full, two-year terms on the city council. Those running for full terms in the general election are city council candidates Steve “Nicky” Alvarez III, Angel Campos, Joe Andy Mendoza, and John Razo.

Running to fill two one year, unexpired terms are candidates Nancy Arevalo and Arian Velazquez-Ornelas. Arevalo and Velazquez-Ornelas will automatically be appointed as they are each running unopposed but will still appear on the ballot. 

Early voting will take place from Monday, April 25 to Friday, April 29 as well as Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of April 29 and May 3 where polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voting on election day, May 7, will also take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All voting will take place at the City Hall Conference Room, 107 W. O’Reilly St.