The November ballot includes a few local bond elections that seem to be driving people to the polls, Travis County election officials said.
But the ballot also includes an entire section of state constitutional amendments that are often skipped over by voters.
Off-year elections, or elections conducted every other year involving bonds or constitutional amendments, tend to have a lower turnout, according to county election officials. State Rep. Paul Workman, whose House District 47 covers western Travis County, said these constitutional amendments affect the average citizen and therefore should be important to voters.
A total of seven constitutional amendments were placed on the ballot ranging in topics from ad valorem taxes to equity loans.
“These amendments variously affect citizens,” Workman said. “They are all important because they change the fundamental governing document. We need to take these seriously and make sure the changes are made with full knowledge of what they are going to do.”
He added that these amendments not only affect the average citizen but also impact veterans and first responders.
Here are the seven amendments on the ballot:
- Proposition 1: Ad valorem taxation
This amendment will allow the Texas Legislature to entitle a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse to a partial homestead property tax exemption even if the homestead was donated at any cost to the veteran. The current law, House Bill 150, allows partially disabled veterans to claim a property tax exemption if they paid 50 percent or less of the market value of the house donated to them by a charity.
- Proposition 2: Home equity loans
The proposed amendment changes a few terms in a loan including lowering the maximum limit on the fee that can be charged to borrowers, allowing a home equity loan to be refinanced as a non-home equity loan, repealing a provision that prevents additional advances on a home equity line of credit, allowing a home equity loan for a homestead designated for agriculture use, and expanding the list of approved lenders.
- Proposition 3: Limiting service of officeholders
The proposition makes it clear that if a term expires when the Legislature is not in regular session, the officer will continue to serve only until the last day of the next regular legislative session.
- Proposition 4: Challenge to the Constitution
The law would require a court to notify the attorney general when a party to litigation files a petition, motion or other pleading challenging the constitutionality of a state statute.
- Proposition 5: Charitable sports foundations
The amendment would enable certain professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.
- Proposition 6: Ad valorem taxation
This amendment would give property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty if the spouse was not remarried.
- Proposition 7: Prized by financial institutions
This would allow credit unions or other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities that can award a prize to one or more of the institution’s depositors selected by lot to encourage savings.