Update: Early voting is concluded. For election day locations, click here.
Original: Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 23 and continues through Nov. 3 in the Nov. 7 election. Voters in Lewisville will decide on two city charter amendments, and Texans statewide will vote on seven amendments to the state constitution.
Lewisville residents who reside in Denton County may vote early at any Denton County polling location. The most convenient location for Lewisville Texans will be at the Lewisville Municipal Annex, 1197 W. Main St.
Early voting will be from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 through Friday, Oct. 27, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30 through Friday, Nov. 3.
Sunday voting is new for Denton County.
Lewisville residents of Dallas County can vote early at any Dallas County polling location. The most convenient location would be the Valley Ranch Library, 401 Cimarron Trail, in Irving. Early voting at that location is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 through Saturday, Oct. 28, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30 through Wednesday, Nov. 1 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 3.
Voters who wait until Election Day, Nov. 7, will be required to vote in their assigned precinct locations, which we will publish closer to the election day.
Lewisville charter amendments
Residents of the City of Lewisville will vote for or against two propositions for charter changes.
Should the charter be amended to provide that if, prior to January 1, 2023, the city makes an annexation that increases the geographic size of the city by at least eight percent, the city will convert to an election system using residential election districts – i.e. candidates will be required to live in a specified district but will continue to be elected by the vote of the entire city.
In a few years when Castle Hills is annexed into Lewisville, it could change the way that city council members are elected. Nothing currently in Lewisville’s city charter would prevent that area from controlling all of the seats, or conversely, having no representation.
Currently all of the members of the Lewisville City Council are elected at large, with no districts. Council members can reside anywhere in the city and are elected by all of the voters in the city. All five council members and the mayor currently live west of Edmonds Lane and I-35E.
But if the voters approve Proposition A, a residential district provision would be added to the charter that would be triggered by any annexation prior to Jan. 1, 2023 that increases the geographic land mass of the city by at least 8 percent. That wording narrowly targets a Castle Hills annexation.
Under the proposed scheme, the city would be divided into five residential districts of roughly equal population, as determined by the 2020 census. Council seats would correspond to districts and the person serving would be required to reside in that district for at least six months prior to the election.
Unlike a traditional council district system, these seats would continue to be elected at large by all of the city’s voters instead of just the ones who reside in each district.
A system using residential districts would prevent any one area of the city from gaining a disproportionate share of representation.
The move carries some risk for sitting council members. Councilman TJ Gilmore said that some district lines could be drawn to include more than one current council member or that they could possibly end up in separate districts.
While the amendment contains no transitional provisions or grandfathering for current members of the council. According to City Manager Donna Barron, if the annexation triggers the provision, all of the sitting council members would be required to qualify and stand for election in their districts at the next regular election. This would result in five seats being up for election in one year. Because the charter calls for terms of office to be staggered over the three-year cycle, some members might serve an initial one or two-year term before coming up for re-election.
(Update: Lewisville Community Relations and Tourism Director James Kunke said that after a discussion with City Attorney Liz Plaster, the current understanding is that the districts would phase in, beginning with the seats already scheduled for election in the year this would take effect. More later…)
City Secretary Julie Heinze said that there were no definite plans yet on how the districts would be drawn, but Gilmore said that he thought the city would likely use a lawyer who understands election law and would probably take input from council and residents.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Brandon Jones wrote that it was not a concern for the council members whether the districts affected them personally.
“I think the voters should know that no member of the Council made this decision with the thought of saving a seat for ourselves,” Jones wrote. “We looked at the options given and we decided on what we believe will be the best option for the citizens of Lewisville, whether they have been here over 50 years or they will be new to the city when the annexation occurs.”
Should the charter be amended to provide that city council vacancies for which the unexpired term is twelve months or less shall be filled within thirty days of the occurrence of the vacancy by appointment of a majority vote of the remaining city council members, while vacancies for which the unexpired term is for more than twelve months shall be filled by a majority of the qualified voters in a special election; provided that all vacancies filled by appointment or election shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the office so filled.
Another proposed amendment relates to the filling of vacancies on the city council or for the mayor. Proposition B would specify that any vacancy that occurs with less than 12 months remaining in that member’s term could be filled by the remaining members of the council, who could choose to appoint someone. The person appointed would serve out the remainder of the original term, and the election would be held at the normal time.
Prior to a state constitutional amendment passed by Texas voters in 2013, a city like Lewisville where council members have three-year terms could not fill a vacancy by appointment.
Vacancies can occur when a council member resigns or dies. In February of this year, Council Member Leroy Vaughn died in office, leaving a little over four months on his term. His seat was not filled until June. Under the current city charter, vacancies require an election be called.
In September 2011, Place 2 Council Member David Thornhill died unexpectedly while in office, leaving about nine months on his term. A special election had to be called for December to fill the remainder. Council Member Neil Ferguson was elected in that special election and then had to immediately begin his campaign for re-election in May.
“This update to our charter will also help the city avoid the expensive cost of conducting multiple elections within a few months,” wrote Jones.
State constitutional amendments
Texas voters will vote for or against seven amendments to the state constitution. For more in-depth analysis and explanation of these amendments, please see this article.
PROPOSITION 1 (HJR 21)
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.”
PROPOSITION 2 (SJR 60)
“The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.”
PROPOSITION 3 (SJR 34)
“The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.”
PROPOSITION 4 (SJR 6)
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.”
PROPOSITION 5 (HJR 100)
“The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.”
PROPOSITION 6 (SJR 1)
“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 first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”
PROPOSITION 7 (HJR 37)
“The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.”