Voters to decide constitutional amendments, Houston mayor among Texas elections Nov. 5

 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, October 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters to decide constitutional amendments, Houston mayor among Texas elections Nov. 5
  2. Local roundup
  3. Kansas voters to decide statewide measure regarding legislative redistricting

Voters to decide constitutional amendments, Houston mayor among Texas elections Nov. 5

Election Day in all states holding statewide contests this year (except Louisiana) is less than two weeks away, on November 5. Between now and then, I’ll highlight some of the elections we’re covering nationwide, as well as information on early voting and absentee voting deadlines.

The following contests will take place in Texas—in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:

  • special elections in state House Districts 28, 100, and 148
  • general elections for mayor, controller, and all 16 city council seats in Houston 
  • a special election for a seat on the El Paso City Council
  • general elections for two seats on the San Antonio River Authority
  • general elections for three members of the Houston Community College Board of Trustees
  • general elections for 26 seats on eight school boards that are among the 200 largest school districts in the nation or that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population 

Ballot measures

Texas voters will also decide 10 constitutional amendments put on the ballot by the state legislature. These measures concern taxes, bonds, budgets, law enforcement animals, and municipal governance. Proposition 4 would prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals. Between 1995 and 2018, an average of 13 measures appeared on odd-year ballots in Texas. During this time, voters approved 91% of statewide constitutional amendments.

There are also a variety of local ballot measures in Irving, El Paso, Harris County, Tarrant County, and Travis County that fall within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope in 2019.


Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in Houston’s mayoral election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will participate in a runoff election on December 14. 

Houston Independent School District

The election of four out of nine seats on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) will take place as the school board faces the possibility of being replaced by a state-appointed board of managers. If appointed, the board of managers would assume the responsibilities of the elected board, while elected trustees would not have any power until they were reinstated. As of the 2018-2019 school year, HISD was the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest school district in the United States, serving 209,772 students in 280 schools with a budget of $2.04 billion.

Early voting in Texas runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1. All registered voters may vote at any early voting location in the county in which they are registered. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, an eligible voter may apply to vote by mail if his or her application is received by the early voting clerk by Oct. 25. To vote by mail in Texas, you must be at least 65 years old, disabled, out of the country, or in jail.

Do you want to learn more about Texas’ 10 statewide constitutional amendments? Click here to take Ballotpedia’s Learning Journey on this topic which guides you through how and why state legislators put these measures before voters and their potential impacts.

Learn more


Local Roundup

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials, school board members, and local ballot measures.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

School Board elections

We provide in-depth coverage of school board elections in America’s largest school districts by enrollment. This includes school board member and candidate profiles, noteworthy election issues, district data, and election results

We’re covering Nov. 5 elections for 247 school board seats in 71 school districts across 17 states. Collectively, these districts served 2,665,278 students during the 2016-2017 school year—approximately 5.1% of all public school students in the U.S. 

In addition to the Houston Independent School District contests mentioned above, this includes races for seats on school boards with student enrollment greater than 90,000, based on 2016-17 figures:

  • Denver Public Schools in Colorado;
  • Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky; 
  • Albuquerque Public Schools in New Mexico; 
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina;
  • Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Harris County, Texas, and; 
  • Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.

From 2014 to 2016, Ballotpedia conducted studies of school board election statistics in America’s 1,000 largest school districts. We found that between 32 percent and 36 percent of elections were unopposed each year; that incumbents won between 58 percent and 62 percent of seats each year; and that between 81 percent and 83 percent of incumbents who sought re-election won each year.

Kansas voters to decide statewide measure regarding legislative redistricting

Voters in Kansas will decide a legislatively referred constitutional amendment—Senate Concurrent Resolution 1605—on Nov. 5. This measure would end the state’s practice of adjusting the U.S. Census population regarding military personnel and students when redistricting the Kansas State Legislature. 

To make the ballot, the amendment required the approval of two-thirds of each chamber of the state legislature. It passed the state Senate unanimously and was approved in the state House by a vote of 117-7.  

The exact start dates for in-person early voting in Kansas varies between Oct. 16 and Oct. 29, depending on the county. Early voting ends in all counties at noon on Nov. 4. 

Voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot must apply by Oct. 29. The Kansas Secretary of State’s office says absentee ballots, also known as advance ballots, “must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received in the county election office no later than three days after the election. Advance ballots may be hand-delivered to the county election office or to any polling place within the county by close of polls.” 

The following contests will also take place in Kansas—in addition to other elections beyond Ballotpedia’s coverage scope:

  • general elections for mayor and three of six city council seats in Wichita 
  • elections for 19 seats on five school boards that are among the 200 largest school districts in the nation or that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population

Learn more→