Your Vote, Your Choice: Local Elections and Where You Can Vote

Bexar County residents can vote for everything from governor to comptrollers in the midterms

Commercials, billboards and signs scattered across highways and front lawns are a clear indicator to anyone passing through San Antonio that elections are coming up.

Trinity students can vote at Lion’s Field, Olmos Park and San Antonio College’s Victory Center during the early voting period. On Oct. 28, students can arrive at Coates Student Center for free transportation to and from Lion’s Field polling center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Any registered voter in Texas can head to a nearby polling location and vote early from now until Nov. 4. If you can’t vote early, election day is Nov. 8. The Alamo Convocation Center is another polling location where students can vote in addition to Olmos Park City Hall, Lion’s Field and the San Antonio College Victory Center in the midterm elections this year.

In the upcoming midterm elections, registered Texans can cast their vote for governor, but there is also a slew of local candidates on the ballot across counties, from judges to comptrollers.

Danae Barkocy, junior political science major and co-president of Trinity Progressives, sees the midterm elections as an opportunity for change. “Not a lot of people vote in local elections, so use the midterm elections this year to get familiar with the smaller offices in your area. … If you’re going to educate yourself, learn about who’s representing you in your local community [school board, county judges],” Barkocy said.

According to the League of Women Voters of Texas (LWV), local elections are connected to the daily actions of Texas citizens. “The November 2022 General Election will determine who will lead us at the state level, represent us in Congress, rule on important civil and criminal cases, set the Texas school curriculum and run our cities and counties,” the LWV 2022 voter guide states.

David Crockett, political science chair and professor at Trinity University, highlighted the importance of keeping local elections in mind even when they don’t make national news.

“We tend to elevate the importance of the highest positions because they get in the news all the time. But really, in our day-to-day lives, when we live in a county, those [local] positions impact our lives in a real-world way far more,” Crockett said.

On a Bexar County district one ballot, there are county judges, members of the Board of Education, commissioners and comptrollers up for election.

The Bexar County judge election is a race to watch this midterm season. Nelson Wolff, the current county judge, has decided not to run for re-election this year. Wolff was appointed to the county judge position in 2001, and whoever wins the position will be the first new county judge in over two decades to assume the position.

This is just one position Bexar County voters have the opportunity to vote for this November. One voter in a single district could be voting for 40-plus races in Texas.

Crockett acknowledged the task at hand for Texas voters. “It’s not reasonable to expect most people to research all the positions of all the candidates for all the races. It’s an informational overload,” he said.

To lighten the load on voters trying to research potential candidates, one option is to “pick your team” and do straight-ticket voting, which refers to voting for every candidate that aligns with one political party on the ballot. Although Texas has eliminated the ability to check one box and automatically vote for one political party, a voter can still attribute their votes to one party.

According to Crockett, it’s not irrational to vote for the political party that typically aligns with your beliefs when you don’t have the time to research most of the candidates running for election.

Looking at a sample ballot and conducting research on the races you don’t understand or are intrigued about is also an option.

“You can do a little opposition research and find out what the good, the bad and the ugly is about candidates,” Crockett said.

Ellis Jacoby, junior political science major and president of Young Conservatives of Texas, has observed a challenge in researching for local elections.

“It’s not easy to find information on local candidates but voting guides from a group you align with can be pretty helpful for researching candidates,” Jacoby said.

Voting guides like the one offered by the LWV or websites like Ballotpedia and Vote411 are resources for research. It’s important to note that in some guides, an opposition party will not have information listed.

“You want to be well informed and make choices that reflect your political beliefs when you’re voting for all of these other [local] candidates,” Jacoby said.

Barkocy suggested a general research strategy when voting. “Seek out information through websites like Ballotpedia and become passively familiar with each candidate’s position in government. … You don’t have to know where they went to college but it is important to know who they are, what they stand for,” Barkocy said.

Regardless of their political affiliations, registered voters can use their vote to advocate for the change they would like to see in government.

“We are ultimately responsible to hire and fire our political leaders, so we should take that job seriously and vote,” Crockett said.