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Local Elections 101

Local Elections 101

Interested in public service?

The time to file for a position on most Special Purpose Districts in the State of Texas is now. These district types generally include: Municipal Utility Districts, Fresh Water Supply Districts, Emergency Services Districts, etc…

There are over 1800 special purpose districts in the State of Texas and they all serve their purposes uniquely. If public service interests you and you are willing to take part in the political governance of your community, this can be a great introduction.

Requirements for holding an elected office are generally the same for all special purpose districts. While not exhaustive, the requirements are fairly simple, including:

  • Must be 18 or older
  • Must reside within the district
    OR
  • Must be eligible to register to vote within the district
    (Generally interpreted as owning property within the district)
  • Must be U.S. citizen
  • Must have no active felonies
    (completed sentences only)

But what districts am I in?

The are several ways to discover in which district(s) you may reside. The most practical means are by searching within the database of your local county appraisal district. By looking up your property or the property in which you reside you will see all of the taxing entities (including districts) in which the property is located.

Example:
John Brown lives in 1442 Evergreen Dr. in Harris County, TX and is interested in running for a local government position, but is unsure in which districts he resides.
First, John would go to his county appraisal district’s website (here, HCAD)
In the HCAD site he would search his property address using the real property search tool. (HCAD Search Tool)
By searching by either name or property address, the site will display all of the taxing entities in which the property resides.

Sample image (Districts highlighted):

Here we see the property resides in three (3) separate special purpose districts:
1. Harris County Water Control & Improvement District 96 (HC WCID 96)
2. Harris County Emergency Service District 10 (HC EMERG SRV DIST 10)
3. Harris County Emergency Service District 1 (HC EMERG SRV DIST 1)

How do I get started?

If you are interested in service on your local board you must file your application for a position on the ballot before February 14th at 5pm.

Detailed instructions for “Application For Place On The Ballot” are available at: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/pol-sub/2-21.pdf

Blank applications may be downloaded here:
https://www.sos.state.tx.us/electio…/forms/pol-sub/2-21f.pdf
You must also submit an Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer form here:
https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/data/forms/coh/cta.pdf

For other forms and instructions, please see the Texas Ethics Commissions page here:
https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/forms/coh/cohfrm.php

Once your application is completed you must submit them to the District via the District’s legal counsel. The District’s legal counsel should be available for answering any questions or for any guidance you may need.
For water and wastewater related districts you can find the district’s legal counsel and more information using the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) website, using their Water District Database page here.

Participation in local government is the most grassroots involvement and position you can take as both a resident and as a community member.

Have other questions? Feel free to reach out to us via our contact page here.