Early voting on 2021 constitutional amendments begins Oct. 18
Texas Legislature Elections
Date Posted: 10/13/2021 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The polls open next week for Texas voters to decide eight proposed amendments to the state’s constitution, as well as various local elections and a special runoff election to fill a vacant legislative seat in House District (HD) 118. Early voting for the November 2 election runs Monday, October 18, through Friday, October 29, 2021.
To amend the Texas Constitution, the Legislature first must pass a proposed amendment by a two-thirds majority in each chamber. These measures are styled as a House Joint Resolution (HJR) or Senate Joint Resolution (SJR), depending on whether they are filed in the House or Senate. Once approved by the Legislature, the proposition then goes before voters on the statewide ballot, where it must be approved by majority of voters to become law.
The eight proposed constitutional amendments on the November 2021 ballot cover topics ranging from roads to rodeos to property taxes. Eligible voters will decide if they are “for” or “against” the following propositions:
- Prop. 1 (HJR 143): “The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”
- Prop. 2 (HJR 99): “The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”
- Prop. 3 (SJR 27): “The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”
- Prop. 4 (SJR 47): “The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”
- Prop. 5 (HJR 165): “The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”
- Prop. 6 (SJR 19): “The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”
- Prop. 7 (HJR 125): “The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”
- Prop. 8 (SJR 35): “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”
Voters should also check their local county elections website for a sample ballot and more information on other local races and propositions in their area, such as school district bonds and school board elections.
Voters in San Antonio’s HD 118 will also decide a special runoff election between Republican John Lujan and Democrat Frank Ramirez. The district has historically favored Democrats during regular elections, but HD 118 voters previously elected Lujan in a special runoff election in February 2016. Lujan held the seat briefly until a Democrat was elected that November. The seat opened up earlier this year when former Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) resigned. Lujan and Ramirez advanced to a runoff out of a field of five candidates during a September special election. Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled the HD 118 runoff to coincide with the Nov. 2 statewide election on constitutional amendments.
Elections held in odd years, such as the one upcoming on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, generally have much lower turnout, which can greatly affect the way important questions are decided. Special elections and runoffs often yield even lower voter turnout. Read more about the importance of voting in every election in this recent blog post on Teach the Vote.
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