Early voting begins April 22 in Harris County where residents will vote in the special election to fill the vacancy for State Senate District 15, the previous Senate seat where Houston Mayor John Whitmire served, and the Harris Central Appraisal District board election.

Here are some of the key things to know before going to your local polling location.

A quick note

Early voting will run from April 22-30, and all registered voters can vote at any of the 24 early voting locations in Harris County at the following times:

  • April 22-27, 29-30; 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • April 28, noon-7 p.m.

During election day May 4, all registered voters can vote at their designated voting precincts from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Voters can input their address on the voter registration lookup tool on Harris County’s election site to find their nearest voting center. Sample ballots are now available for Harris County voters to view.

Who’s on the ballot?

Democrats Jarvis D. Johnson and Molly Cook are headed to a runoff election for the Texas Senate District 15 Democratic seat. Texas Senate District 15 encompasses portions of Atascocita, Bellaire, Houston, Humble, Southside Place and West University Place as well as unincorporated areas of north Harris County.

The Democratic winner will face Republican candidate Joseph L. Trahan in the November election.

Up for election

In what will costs taxpayers $4.1 million to administer the state’s first appraisal district election, the Harris Central Appraisal District's board of directors will add three new publicly elected members in the May 4 countywide election. Created as part of the 2023 Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 2 required counties to create publicly elected members of appraisal district boards.

Ronald Altinger, Harris Central Appraisal District chief appraiser, encouraged homeowners to vote during an April 16 news conference.

"That was one of the other things that I wanted to mention that came out of Senate Bill 2. Not only was there property tax relief, but it also brought a different makeup of the board of directors. At least in, I know it's Harris County, Fort Bend, Chambers, Brazoria, Montgomery, because all the neighboring counties will all have that election come May 4," Altinger said.

Appraisal board members serve in more administrative roles, such as hiring the chief appraiser and setting the appraisal district’s annual budget. The elected board members are not setting local property values, as previously reported by Community Impact.

The newly elected directors will take office July 1 and serve a term that expires Dec. 31, 2026, according to an HCAD news release. Serving on the appraisal district board is also an unpaid position.

Candidates and their public election information are listed below.

HCAD, director at-large, Place 1

HCAD, director at-large, Place 2

  • Janice W. Hines
  • Melissa Noriega was a former Houston City Council member and ran in a special election to the Texas House of Representatives to represent District 145. According to the candidate's election website, Noriega is running to "advocate to adjust the level of awareness and education of homeowners about their rights, increase awareness about exemptions, and increase transparency and quality of appraisal boards."
  • Kyle Scott ran for Harris County treasurer in 2022. According to the candidate's election website, Scott is an educator and small-business owner running to "bring accountability, transparency and integrity to HCAD and the valuation and arbitration process."
  • Jevon German
  • Austin Pooley

HCAD, director at-large, Place 3

  • J. Bill is running to "ensure fair property values based on location, size, condition and market trends," according to the candidate's election website. He is also running to "emphasize efficiency with technology for accurate appraisals" and to improve customer service for property owners, his election website states.
  • Amy Lacy is an attorney, realtor and former arbitrator of property value disputes between HCAD and property owners, according to the candidate's election Facebook page.
  • Mark V. Goloby wants to "abolish the current appraisal system [and] audit prior actions by appraisal districts," according to the candidate's election website. He also previously ran for Texas governor and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in 2022.
  • Pelumi Adeleke works in business and finance, and is running to "work diligently to reform and streamline the [appraisal process]" to "ensure that it is transparent, efficient and equitable for all," according to the candidate's election website.
  • Ericka McCrutcheon ran for Houston City Council in 2019 and 2023. She is president of the Kirkwood Civic Club and pastor of Joint Heirs Fellowship Church, according to the candidate's election website. McCrutcheon is running to "ensure the integrity of the tax appraisal roll and valuations; ensure that taxation is clean, level and uniform; and ensure taxpayers receive commonsense fairness when disputing property taxes," her election website states.

Also of note

The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is April 23, according to the county clerk, which must be filled out and mailed to the county clerk's office before the deadline to ensure all applications are received. In addition to voting by mail, the county offers several accessible voting options to help make voting possible for all eligible residents:

  • Curbside voting is an option for those who are physically unable to enter the polling location without assistance or the likelihood of affecting others' health.
  • Aids are also provided for those with audio-visual impairments and/or limited mobility.
  • Video remote interpreting devices allow voters who speak Spanish, Vietnamese or Chinese to hear the ballot read to them via headset.
  • Accessible voting machines at wheelchair height are also available.
  • Those who might have difficulty navigating the traditional touch-screen voting machines can vote via an audio-tactile interface.
  • The county also has a process for voters who bring someone to assist them at the polls. This may include voters who have difficulty reading the screen; speak languages other than English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Chinese; or have a disability that would make it difficult to vote.

Follow along on election night with Community Impact’s election coverage and election guide.

Hannah Brol, Danica Lloyd and Jessica Shorten contributed to this report.