Early voting ends this week; Election Day is Nov. 2

by | Oct 28, 2021 | Latest

Princeton voters head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 2, to make their sections in the city, Princeton ISD board of trustees and Texas Constitutional election.

Voting locations across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on election day.

Nearby voting locations are Princeton Public Works Department, 255 E Monte Carlo Blvd; First Baptist Church-Branch, 7011 FM 546; and Lowry Crossing City Hall, 1405 S Bridgefarmer Road. 

Early voting continues Thursday and Friday, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Voters can also cast ballots at any polling place in their county of residence, which can be found on the county website, collincountytx.gov. The county site also lists estimated wait times at each voting location.

In city elections, residents will choose mayor, city council Place 1 and Place 2 and decide whether a home rule charter shall be formed.

Mayoral candidates include incumbent Brianna Chacon and challenger David Sprawls. In city council Place 1, incumbent David Kleiber is being challenged by newcomer Darsell Johnson. In Place 2, Marlo Obera and Mike McCandless are both running for the seat currently held by Mike Robertson, who is not seeking re-election.

Voters will also be asked whether they want to convene a home rule committee to draft a charter for the city. If it passes, a charter commission will be formed. The commission will work with the city attorney to draft the document that will serve as the city’s constitution.

There are two types of cities in Texas: general law, Princeton’s current city type, and home rule. According to City Attorney David Overcash, Princeton is unique in that it is one of the largest cities that still operates as a general law city. 

The major distinction between a general law and a home rule charter is that a general law city can only do what the Legislature allows them to do through state laws, while a home rule city can pass any regulations or law it deems necessary unless state or federal law prohibits it. 

Every city in Texas begins as a general law city. As the city grows and reaches a certain population threshold, 5,000 or more, a home rule charter can be adopted if the voters ratify it. 

Princeton far exceeds the population threshold with an estimated population of 21,000. The city has attempted to adopt a home rule charter four times, first in 2007, twice in 2008 and again in 2014, each time the measure was defeated. 

The primary opposition for a home rule charter, said City Manager Derek Borg in an earlier interview, is taxes and involuntary annexation.

“In the past, home rule cities had the authority to involuntary annex property into the city limits,” Borg said. “The fear was that the city would reach out and annex property and subject the residents in the unincorporated areas of Princeton to city property tax.” 

Since the last charter election, the state passed a law prohibiting involuntary annexations.

If the charter commission is approved, voters will be asked to cast their ballot in a charter election as early as May 2022.

There are also four positions for the Princeton ISD board of trustees on the ballot: three in the general election and one in a special election to fill the unexpired term currently held by Starla Sharpe.

Bob Lovelady, Joe Gilliam and Carlos Cuellar are up for re-election. They are being challenged by residents Duane Kelly, Doug Ellyson, Dorinda Powell and write-in candidate Justin Cave.

Sharpe was appointed to the board shortly after Ricky Gillespie’s resignation in May and is being challenged by Jackson Stager.

In the Constitutional Amendment Election, voters are asked to cast ballots on eight proposals.

Proposition 1 authorizes professional sports team charitable organizations to conduct raffles at rodeo venues.

Texas counties would be authorized to issue bonds to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in undeveloped and blighted areas in Proposition 2.

Proposition 3 amends the Texas Constitution to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order or proclamation limiting religious services or organizations.

Eligibility changes for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals and a district judge would be enacted under Proposition 4.

The proposition requires candidates to be residents of Texas as well as citizens of the United States. It would also require 10 years of experience in Texas as a practicing lawyer or judge of a state or county court.

District judge candidates will be required to have eight years of experience in Texas as a practicing lawyer.

Lastly, the amendment would disqualify candidates if their license to practice law was revoked or suspended during experience requirements.

Proposition 5 authorizes the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept and investigate complaints and reports against candidates running for state judicial office.

Under Proposition 6, residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities or state-supported living centers have a right to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident.

Proposition 7 would allow the legislature to extend a homestead tax limit for surviving spouses of disabled individuals as long as the spouse is 55 years old and resides at the home.

Lastly, Proposition 8 allows a similar exception for surviving spouses of members of the military who were fatally injured in the line of duty.

Residents can find information on the Texas Constitutional amendments at votetexas.org.

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