May 2021 election guide: What North Texas voters need to know


Another round of elections are upon us, North Texas, with many important local races up for grabs. 

Hundreds of candidates just in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone have decided to run, with many local contests featuring 5 or more candidates each. 

In cities like Arlington and Fort Worth, there are almost 10 candidates running for mayor alone, and then there are plenty of people running for city council seats in those cities and many others, including Dallas. 

And for residents in Tarrant, Ellis and Navarro Counties, 23 different candidates are running for TX District 6, a U.S. House of Representatives seat that needs to be filled following the death of Rep. Ron Wright.

With so many candidates running, it's quite possible plenty of local races will head to run-off elections sometime later this summer. Some jurisdictions require candidates to reach a majority of the vote, which is more than 50%, to outright win. With so many candidates in a single race, that can be hard to do. The top two vote-getters will head into a runoff typically if no one candidate gets the majority of the vote.  

Several large school district bonds are also on the agenda for the spring election-- Richardson ISD has one of the largest at about $750 million in bonds proposed. 

WFAA has compiled a list of many of the bigger local races for folks in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Collin Counties, as well as some background information on the big school bond elections across the metroplex. 

Early voting starts April 19 and runs through April 27. Election Day is May 1.

Below, WFAA has some information voters should know before heading to polls, along with what will be on their ballots.

How to check if you're registered

To be eligible to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen over 18 years old on Election Day. You also must have a valid Texas or federal photo ID to cast a ballot, although there are certain exemptions to that.

You must be registered in order to vote in Texas. You can check online to see if you are currently registered to vote. 

Those who wish to vote by mail must submit their application for a mail-in ballot no later than April 20.

To vote by mail in Texas, you must be: 

  • 65 years or older
  • disabled
  • out of the county on Election Day and during early voting
  • confined in jail

Ballots submitted by mail must be received by election workers by 7 p.m. on May 1, with a few exceptions.

Where do I vote? How to find your polling place

Voters can visit any early voting location in their county during early voting, and in some counties, they can vote at any polling location on Election Day as well. 

You will want to see if the county you live in participates in the Countywide Polling Place Program. If your county does participate in CWPP, you can vote at any polling place in the county. If your county does not participate in the program, you can only vote at the polling place assigned to you on Election Day.

On May 1, polling places across Texas will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What do I need to vote? 

When you head to the polls, you need one of the following forms of ID to cast your vote.

  • Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety 
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States Passport (book or card)

Your driver's license does NOT need to be REAL ID compliant, according to the Secretary of State's office.

The photo ID must be current, or, for voters under the age of 70, have not expired more than four years prior to voting. Those age 70 and older can use any expired photo ID that otherwise remains correct, no matter how long it has been expired.

Your address on your photo ID does not need to match the address you used to register to vote.

Don’t have one of those? Here are supporting forms of ID.

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

What's on my ballot?

WFAA has compiled guides for some of the biggest local races happening across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Counties also often share sample ballots online ahead of elections to allow voters to see their options. To find your own sample ballot, visit you county's election website. The Texas Secretary of State's website has a list of counties across the state.

Collin County

Collin County voters are facing important local decisions this election cycle, from a major bond election in Plano to mayoral and city council races in cities like McKinney.

RELATED: May 1 Election Guide: What Collin County voters should know

Dallas County

Dallas County voters have a number of big local races on their ballots this election cycle, like the city council races in the county's namesake city to a rather large bond election for Irving voters to consider—it totals about $563 million in potential city improvements.

RELATED: May 1 Election Guide: What voters in Dallas County should know

Denton County

Denton County voters are facing some important decisions for their local governments this election cycle. Some of the big races for folks in Denton County include the numerous city council seats open in cities across the county, including Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Frisco and Plano. Plus, cities like Fort Worth, Lewisville and Plano have mayoral spots up for grabs as well.

RELATED: May 1 Election Guide: What Denton County voters should know

Tarrant County

Tarrant County voters have some major decisions on their ballots this election cycle, from city council and mayoral races in Arlington and Fort Worth to an open U.S. House seat covering a swath of North Texas. 

And it's not just a number of open seats— there are dozens of people running for them too, with many local races featuring five or more candidates each. Or, in the case of that open U.S. House seat, a grand total of 23 people vying for one spot. 

School district bonds: 

A number of North Texas school district have major bond propositions up for election in May. Below are some of the largest proposals from across the area.

Azle ISD

 A total of approximately $105.6 million is up for election. To view more about the proposed bonds, click here.

Proposition A: $46.833 million in bonds for a new elementary campus and renovations to other elementary schools

Proposition B: $41.852 million in bonds for improvements to Azle High School facilities, including its science classrooms and labs, kitchen, cafeteria, fine arts department and co-educational fieldhouse 

Proposition C: $16.918 million in bonds for improvements to Azle High School's Hornet Stadium 

Godley ISD 

A total of approximately $168.5 million is up for election. To view more about the bond proposition, click here.

Proposition A: $168.5 million in bonds for construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment for district school facilities, including:

  • land acquisition
  • acquiring new buses 
  • retrofitting buses with emergency safety or security equipment and purchasing or retrofitting of vehicles to be used for emergency safety or security purposes 

Northwest ISD

A total of approximately $745.7 million in bonds are up for election for the school district. To view more about the proposed bonds, click here.

Proposition A: $712 million in bonds for school facilities, land purchases and buying buses and vehicles 

Proposition B: $8.2 million in bonds for renovations to track and field complex Texan Stadium and Northwest ISD Stadium

Proposition C: $5.7 million in bonds for middle school recreational facilities

Proposition D: $19.4 million in bonds for technology devices

Richardson ISD 

A total of approximately $750 million in bonds are up for election. To view more about the proposed bonds, click here.

Proposition A: $694 million in bonds for building new district school buildings and renovating existing ones; retrofitting school buses and other vehicles with emergency and safety equipment; and buying new school buses

Proposition B: $56 million in bonds for the district's "technology infrastructure," like computers, tablets and other devices 

McKinney ISD

A total of approximately $275 million in bonds are up for election. To view more about the proposed bonds, click here.

Proposition C: $245 million in bonds for building and renovating school facilities, along with the purchase of land and buses

Proposition D: $30 million in bonds for technology, particularly computers

Melissa ISD

A total of approximately $400 million in bonds are up for election. To view more about the bond proposition, click here.

Proposition A: $400 million in bonds for construction of new school buildings and facilities in the district, as well as the purchase of the land required for those sites and new school buses

Royse City ISD 

A total of approximately $230 million in bonds are up for election. To view more about the bond propositions, click here.

Proposition A: $225 million for construction and renovation of school buildings in the district, as well as infrastructure improvements 

Proposition B: $4.98 million for construction and renovation of athletic stadium facilities, as well as related infrastructure improvements

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