Houston Public Media

Why You May Not Have Known About The May Election Day This Weekend

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Saturday is Election Day. You read that correctly.

Despite the lack of attention the May Uniform Election gets, there are a lot of important issues on the ballot this weekend.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Prof. Brandon Rottinghaus points out depending on where you live, you might be voting for a new mayor and city council members in Missouri City, or Sugar Land. And there are dozens of races for highly specialized positions across the region, 87 entities are holding elections in Harris County alone.

“You’ve got MUD districts and water control districts that typically don’t get a lot of press. The fact, though, is that these are really the core of how government functions, especially at the local level. So these are critical to be able to think about who’s serving in them, but they tend to fly under the radar for most people,” said Rottinghaus, a professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.

Sugar Land residents will also decide whether to extend city council term limits. Richmond voters will determine whether to expand the size of their city council from two to four representatives.

So how do you know if you are eligible to vote this weekend?

“There’s a good piece of the people who are not in the City of Houston that have an opportunity to vote on May 7,” said Stan Stanart, the Harris County Clerk who oversees local elections.

Stanart’s  office is not conducting the May elections, but Harris County residents can go to his website to find out whether they are eligible to vote and residents in other counties should be able to do the same on their county’s website.

“In such a low turnout election, like there will be in some of these elections, your voice has a greater impact when you participate,” Stanart said.

You may be wondering why some municipalities hold their elections in May rather than November. State law allows local governmental entities to choose which election day they want to use… and since the November ballot can be quite long and detailed, some entities choose May.

By the way, early voting ends Tuesday, May 3.