April 19, 2023 942 PM
TRI-COUNTY — Early voting for the May 6 General Election — in which locals elect city council and school board candidates as well as decide on any ballot propositions — begins Monday, April 24.
Early voting runs through Tuesday, May 2. The voter registration deadline has passed. To see if you are registered to vote, visit the secretary of state’s website, votetexas.gov.
The Big Bend Sentinel has compiled voting times and locations for races taking place in Presidio and Brewster counties. There are no contested elections in Jeff Davis County.
Proposition 1 — Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District
Early voting for the county election will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 through April 28 and May 1-2 at Marfa City Hall, in the Casner Room, and at the Presidio Activity Center. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 6.
Both polling locations will serve residents in precincts 1-7 for early voting, but on Election Day, May 6, precincts 1 and 7 are required to vote in Marfa and precincts 2-6 are required to vote in Presidio. While located in the same building, the county and cities will hold separate elections, appearing on separate ballots.
For Proposition 1, voters will decide whether or not to allow the Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District to become a taxing entity. The district, made up of a board and general manager, currently oversees well-drilling permits and operating permits for commercial entities, and is increasing water-level monitoring efforts to ensure the future of the area’s water supply.
The district has operated from a budget from the county commissioners since its inception in 1999 and has entered into an agreement with the county to offset a potential new tax by lowering their tax rate so that citizens would not be impacted. The district may levy a property tax not to exceed $0.05 per $100 of assessed property valuation and will work with the county tax assessor-collector to determine what the tax rate would need to be in order to get their required budget — currently around $51,000.
The PCUWCD has released a series of educational videos on various groundwater topics in the lead up to the election, which can be found on their website, pcuwcd.org.
Early voting for the City of Marfa election will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 through April 29 and May 1-2 at City Hall in the Casner Room. Polling hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 6.
Marfa City Council is made up of a mayor, who serves a two-year term, and five council members, which serve two-year staggered terms. In the upcoming election, the seat of Mayor Manny Baeza will be up for election, as will the seats of council members Irma Salgado and Raul Lara.
Incumbent Baeza is running for the role of the mayor of Marfa, which if elected would be his third term. According to the city secretary, the other mayoral candidate, Stephen Salgado Boelter, withdrew from the race on April 19, citing family matters.
However, according to state law, it is too late for Salgado Boelter’s name to be removed from the ballot. If he wins the election, he will have to decline the office of mayor, leaving the city with a vacancy which council would fill via appointment.
“Unfortunately I will be withdrawing as a candidate for mayor due to family matters I have been dealing with,” Salgado Boelter wrote in a statement to The Big Bend Sentinel. “I would like citizens to know about my circumstance so they will vote accordingly since I will still be on the ballot.”
“It has been a tough decision to make. I hope the citizens will understand,” he added.
For the two available council member seats, current Councilmember Lara is running for reelection, along with new candidates Travis Acreman and Christa Marquez. Voters will be instructed to select up to two out of the three council member candidates. Mark Morrison, who is running unopposed, is declared elected for a one-year term.
After May 6, newly-elected council members take office in late May or early June. There were no contested Marfa ISD School Board positions, so the district will not participate in the election with the city.
Candidate Questionnaires for Marfa City Council can be found in this week’s edition of The Big Bend Sentinel.
The City of Presidio and Presidio ISD will hold a joint election. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 through May 2 at the Activity Center, 1200 E. O’Reilly Street. Polling hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 6.
The role of the mayor of Presidio is up for election, with incumbent John Ferguson and Angel Miguel Campos vying for the position. Two council member seats will be up for election, with voters choosing up to two out of three candidates: incumbent Arian Velazquez-Ornelas, incumbent Nancy Arevalo, and Todd Beckett.
Trustees are at-large and do not represent specific districts, meaning voters will choose four out of the eight candidates that appear on the ballot.
The City of Alpine and Alpine ISD will hold a joint election. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 through May 2 in the City Council Chambers, 803 W. Holland Ave. Polling hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 6.
The City of Alpine will have one race for the Ward 5 council member seat, for which incumbent Jerry Johnson, who passed away recently, and Rick Stephens both filed. The City of Alpine has stated that Johnson will remain on the ballot despite his passing, per state law — the Texas Election Code dictates that a candidate’s name will appear on the ballot if they pass away on or after the second day before the filing deadline (in this case, February 17). If a deceased candidate is elected, a vacancy is created, and the council will appoint a successor.
Incumbent council members Judy Stokes, Ward 1, and Darin Nance, Ward 3, were unopposed candidates. They have already been declared elected and will not appear on the ballot.
The Alpine ISD School Board will have two seats up for election. Incumbent Joe Portillo, who represents District 2, filed for re-election and is unopposed, meaning he will be declared elected and will not appear on the ballot. The District 6 seat, currently held by Dr. Adrian Billings, will be a race between Billings, who filed for re-election, and new candidate Richard Portillo.