Fort Worth voters have a lot to decide May 7. They are set to elect a new City Council member and two school board members. The election also will decide the fate of a $560 million bond package and potential pay raise for council members.
Additionally, voters will weigh in on more than a dozen charter amendments. It’s a ballot that could have immediate consequences in the lives of Fort Worth residents.
Fort Worth falls into three different counties – Tarrant, Denton and Parker. Tarrant County has over 100 countywide polling locations available to Fort Worth voters. Denton County offers just 2 locations where residents can vote. Parker County offers 23 voting locations.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are a Tarrant County voter you can look up your voter registration status, find your polling location and get a sample ballot by entering your name and date of birth here.
Voters have to provide a form of photo identification at the polls. Forms of ID can be expired for up to four years. Acceptable forms of identification are:
- Texas driver license
- Texas election identification certificate
- Texas personal identification card
- Texas gun license
- United States military identification card with a photograph
- United States citizenship certificate with a photograph
- United States passport (book or card)
If you don’t have an ID when you arrive, you will have to fill out a form declaring why you couldn’t obtain photo identification and bring a supporting form of ID. Alternative forms of identification include a government document that includes your name and an address, such as a voter registration certificate, or a utility bill, a bank statement or a paycheck.
What will be on the ballot
Voters are not allowed to use electronic devices within 100 feet of voting stations, according to the Texas Secretary of State. However, residents can bring written notes to a polling location.
Tarrant County allows voters to look up your ballot so that you can download and print it. Voters can bring out their completed preview ballot to the polling place to reference as they cast their votes. It will not be considered a substitute for filling out the ballot.
The bond election — which will be split into five different propositions — will fund projects across the city including road construction, park improvements, investment in public safety and open space conservation.
What are the city’s bond propositions:
Proposition A: $360.2 million for streets and mobility-related projects.
Proposition B: $123.9 million for park and recreation projects, including a new aquatics center in the Stop Six neighborhood and a rebuilt Forest Park Pool.
Proposition C: $12.5 million for a new library in far northwest Fort Worth.
Proposition D: $39.3 million for police and fire public safety facilities. Included is a proposed headquarters for the Northwest Patrol Division.
Proposition E: $15 million for the city’s Open Space program, which focuses on acquiring natural areas.
Residents also will vote on 13 proposed amendments to Fort Worth’s charter. One of the more questioned measures on the ballot is a pay raise for members of the Fort Worth City Council, including the mayor. Pay would increase to the mayor’s salary to $99,653 annually and council members to $76,727 annually.
Language of the charter amendment:
Shall Section 3 of Chapter III of the Fort Worth City Charter be amended to provide that the mayor’s annual pay shall be half of the average annual base-rate salary for all City department heads and that the other city council members’ annual pay shall be half of the average annual base-rate salary for all City assistant department heads starting October 1, 2022?
The 12 other amendments mainly focus on deleting parts of the city’s charter to reflect current practices.
Proposition G will streamline the redistricting process by nixing the requirement that the city describe changes to redistricting maps by metes and bounds. Metes and bounds are defined by physical descriptions like rivers, roads and trees.
Proposition H will adjust the charter to get rid of language allowing employees to request a public hearing by the city council to protest their firing. At informational meetings, city staff explained the appropriate remedy for an employee that believes their firing is unlawful and would be pursuing legal action.
Proposition I gives the city secretary more time, 25 days instead of 10, to review voter-submitted petitions. This would give the city secretary more time to verify signatures,
Proposition J removes defunct language that states the city finance department assesses and collects taxes. The city contracts those duties with the county tax assessor-collector.
Proposition K removes the entirety of Chapter XV from the city’s charter. The chapter refers to a health department, which no longer exists. The city contracts all the functions of a health department with Tarrant County.
Proposition L reduces the number of newspaper advertisements required, from four published notices to one public notice, to notify the public about the sale of city property.
Proposition M changes the language of Section 4 from shall assess to may assess costs of sidewalks and curbs to neighboring landowners. When the city builds property they typically also pay for the costs of curbs and sidewalks adjacent to the property. However, the change would still allow the city to assess those costs to neighbors if they choose.
Proposition N adjusts the charter to reflect state law. Instead of requiring the tax assessor-collector to provide a list of assessments of property on a certain date, it would be changed to follow the deadline set by state law.
Proposition O deletes a part of the city’s charter requiring public utilities to file an annual report, because many public utilities are run by the state. Utilities have not filed a formal report to the city in many years.
Proposition P amends the charter to allow advertising contracts with the newspaper of record to extend longer than a year.
Proposition Q removes outdated language and allows an annexation election to be called according to state law.
Proposition R clarifies the role of an independent auditor, by defining it as auditing records and expressing an opinion on the annual comprehensive financial report and single audit. Also, it removes the requirement for physically printed copies.
Voters can read the full charter amendment language here.
Residents of District 4 will have the opportunity to elect a new councilman. The district, which stretches from far east Fort Worth around Highway 30, up to Golden Triangle Boulevard, is currently represented by Cary Moon, who is leaving his seat on the council after an unsuccessful run for the state Legislature.
Voters also will elect two new members to the Fort Worth ISD school board. The election comes after reporting revealed candidate Brian Dixon, who is running in District 4, may have violated homestead exemptions. His opponent claims he lives outside of the district, which would make him ineligible to run for the seat. He faces Wallace Bridges and Trischelle Strong for the seat.
In the Northside, police officer Aaron Garcia and Dr. Camille Rodriguez face off for a seat in Fort Worth ISD’s District 1.
Tarrant County voters can catch a free ride to the polls with Trinity Metro services.
Tarrant and Denton County has software available to make voting easier for voters who are blind, have limited vision, or limited dexterity that prevents them from marking the ballot without assistance.
Senate Bill 1, the voting bill passed by the Texas Legislature last year, has caused concerns among disability activists. Now, people assisting someone else at the polls have to disclose their relationship to the voter, whether or not they are being compensated and recite an oath that includes language stating, under the penalty of perjury, that they did not pressure or coerce the voter into choosing them for assistance.
If you’re unable to walk to stand for long periods of time, you can cast your vote curbside. An election officer will bring a ballot to the voter for them to mark and then take that ballot back to a secure ballot box.
Tarrant County provides a pamphlet of voter rights for quick reference. You can also call the Tarrant County elections office at 817-831-8683 with any questions or concerns. Also, call or email the Fort Worth Report at 817-405-9318 and email@example.com to report any voting problems.
Our coverage can help
Want to learn more about the issues on the ballot? Here is a guide to recent Fort Worth Report election coverage:
- Explainer: What’s in Fort Worth’s 2022 bond package and how could it impact residents?
- Redistricting throws wrench in Fort Worth City Council District 4 race
- ‘The biggest challenge is getting the word out’ : Economic development organizations push for May bond package
- Fort Worth asks voters to approve a $124 million refresh for the city’s parks, community centers
- Southeast Fort Worth ISD voters to elect new trustee after 6 month-long vacancy
- Two Northside natives face off for chance to represent Fort Worth ISD District 1
- Fort Worth ISD school board candidate’s residency called into question; Tarrant Appraisal District to review
Rachel Behrndt is a government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.