Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of vote centers. There are 15 around the county.
After a slow start to early voting, Jared Goldsmith, McLennan County elections administrator, said he hoped people understood how important it is to vote Saturday in local city and school elections.
“It’s important because your vote really counts for a city and school election,” Goldsmith said. “It’s a smaller voter base and it’s good to go out and have your voice heard. These people directly represent you in your city and school district. They control your tax dollars and how they are spent.”
Early voting ended Tuesday in the local city council and school board races, in addition to charter revision referendums in Hewitt and Robinson and school bond issues in Mart and China Spring school districts. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The McLennan County Elections Office is running all local elections except those in Bellmead, Beverly Hills, China Spring Independent School District and Mart ISD.
In the county-run elections, voters may cast their ballots at any of 15 vote centers across the county. The locations are mapped at www.co.mclennan.tx.us/337/Elections.
Goldsmith said 2,588 people voted early in the county-run elections, which represent 11 entities with 116,461 registered voters.
Elections in Waco ISD and Midway ISD include some highly contested races this year.
At-large Waco ISD Trustee Robin Houston is facing a challenge from Waco Fire Department Lt. Keith Guillory, mortgage lender Rebecca Wright and Waco elementary teacher Jennifer Hargrove.
Waco ISD District 2 incumbent Stephanie Ybarra Korteweg faces Baylor University administrator Jessica King Gereghty.
In Midway, 15-year incumbent trustee Tom Pagel faces a challenge in Place 3 from franchise coach Mike Benson and video firm owner Collin Witt.
This year, city council elections are being held in Bellmead, Beverly Hills, Lacy Lakeview, McGregor, Robinson and Waco.
In Waco, District 5 incumbent Councilman Jim Holmes is in a four-way race with Charra Burns, Alan Northcutt, and Royce Montgomery.
Other contested races are as follows:
Bellmead City Council
Precinct 2: incumbent Travis Gibson and George Cleveland.
Precinct 5: Incumbent Doss Youngblood, Bryan Winget, and Brandon Bledsoe.
Beverly Hills City Council
Mayor: Incumbent David Gonzales and LucyAnn Sanchez-Miramontez.
Hewitt cancelled its city council election as all positions were unopposed, but it will hold a special election to revise its city charter. The 16 propositions mostly address minor issues, such as reflecting state law changes and revising language to be gender-neutral. One proposition requires council candidates to live in a ward for six months before running instead of 30 days and another expands the size of the planning and zoning commission.
Council members Robert Plsek, Barbara Seitz, Bruce Bundrant are seeking re-election to three at-large seats, joined by A. “Niecey” Payne.
Incumbent at-large Councilman Tony Ocampo faces challenger Sherry Adams. In Ward 3, incumbent David C. Taylor faces a challenge from Steven Dutschmann.
The city will hold a special election for charter revisions. More information can be found at http://tx-mclennancounty.civicplus.com/1150/May-1-2021-Joint-General-Election.
School board elections also will be held for Bosqueville, China Spring, Connally, Crawford, Lorena and Mart ISDs.
China Spring and Mart will also be having bond elections on their ballots.
China Spring voters will vote on passing Proposition A, which would issue $38.9 million to help build a new elementary school for grades 2-4 and Proposition B, which would issue $18.3 million of bonds by the school district to build a multi-purpose facility that would be used by the entire district. The facility would include CTE labs, agricultural sciences, a metal and wood fabrication shop, and a new gymnasium.
The Mart referendum includes three propositions.
Proposition A would approve $12 million for elementary and high school upgrades, school buses, and upgrades in band and technology. Proposition B would approve an additional $5 million for updates to the high school stadium and equipment.
Proposition C, would approve $3 million in recreational facility upgrades as well as upgrades to the baseball and softball fields and practice fields.