Your Guide to the November 3rd Mayoral Election
Voting. It’s something we like to tout as one of the many reasons we love democracy, yet so few of us actually take the time to do it.
Consider how many people you know (you may be one of these people) who like to sit at their keyboard, type up a political rant and then post it to Facebook, lamenting about how some politician shouldn’t be in office, or why a certain policy should change.
Have you ever wondered what things would be like if all those friends took to the polls and used their voices to vote instead of merely complaining about what’s wrong? (Hint: things would be very different).
Heads up, there is an election on November 3rd, and whether or not you actually turn out to the polls, Houston will elect a new mayor for the first time in six years.
The last time Houston had an open race for mayor, less than 20% of voters actually turned out to the polls. In a city of roughly 2.2 million people, calling that pathetic and downright unacceptable is an understatement.
We’re less than a month out from the November 3rd election, so we’ve still got time to prove that Houston actually gives a damn about what happens in this city. The time for our collective apathy has come and gone. On November 3rd, get out of bed, put on some pants and go cast your vote. To make it easier on you, here is your guide to making that happen.
The deadline to register to vote for the November 3rd election was October 5th. So if you missed it you’re shit out of luck. That said, you’re probably already registered to vote and don’t even realize it. Find out if and where you are registered to vote.
Where to find the issues and candidates
Houston has seven candidates vying for the chance to be the next Mayor of Houston. While they’re no Annise Parker, they are all qualified, intelligent people who want to make this city their version of better. Click each name to take a look at their websites to get a feel for what they want to accomplish as mayor:
The Houston Chronicle also has an easy to digest breakdown of each candidate in their election guide, along with the candidates running for City Council (which are equally important!).
There’s nothing worse than getting to the polls and having no clue what you’re looking at. Thankfully, the sample ballot for Harris county is online, and it gives you the chance to see what will be in front of you on election day. Make some time to look at it so you won’t feel overwhelmed, confused or caught off guard when it’s time to actually vote.
When and where to vote
Early Voting begins Monday, October 19th and ends on Friday, October 30th. The times you can early vote are below:
October 19th-23rd: 8 am - 4:30 pm
October 24th: 7 am - 7 pm
October 25th: 1 pm - 6 pm
October 26th-30th: 7 am - 7 pm
The full list of early voting locations can be found in this handy pdf. If you’re early voting, you can vote at any of these locations.
On election day, November 3rd, you are only permitted to vote at the location in your precinct, which you can find here. The location might change leading up election day, so double check before you go to save yourself time!
On November 3rd, the polls are open from 7 am - 7 pm
Texas law requires every voter to have one of these valid photo IDs in order to vote:
- U.S. passport book or card
- Texas driver license issued by DPS
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS (FREE)
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
- U. S. military identification card containing the person’s photograph
- U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo
Without one of these, you cannot vote. Don’t leave the house without it!
For any specific questions you have about voting, voter ID, or election day, check out the Vote Texas frequently asked questions. If you’re asking, there is definitely an answer.
Don’t be discouraged
For first time voters, this might seem really overwhelming, but that isn’t an excuse not to give it your best. The opportunity to decide who you want to see in office working for you is a right, and it’s a right many have fought hard and died for. Don’t buy into the unfounded idea that your vote is useless. If you choose not to vote, that will be reflected in the outcome of this election, but honestly, your vote is more powerful if you use it.
See you at the polls! And remember that your duties as a citizen in a democracy don’t end at the ballot box. Keep pressure on elected representatives every other day by calling their offices, writing them letters, writing op-eds for Free Press Houston and other papers, organizing your friends and neighbors, staging boycotts and sit-ins and rallies and marches and strikes — the fun never ends!