El Paso and Socorro independent school districts each have four school board seats up for grabs this spring.

El Pasoans wanting to participate in the May 1 election have until Thursday, April 1 to register to vote.

Mailed voter registration applications must be postmarked no later than April 1. El Paso County Elections Administrator Lisa Wise recommends mailing the application a few days earlier to ensure it’s postmarked by the deadline.

Applications can be hand-delivered to the El Paso County Elections Department at 500 E. San Antonio Ave., Suite 314, until 5 p.m. April 1.

Tell us what questions we should ask school board candidates

To vote in Texas, you must be 18 years old on Election Day and a U.S. citizen. 

Applications are available at the El Paso County Elections Department, post offices and high schools. They can also be downloaded from the election department website.

If you’re unsure whether you’re registered, you can check here, or call the elections department at 915-546-2154. To see whether the open school board seats represent your voting precinct, go here.

Early voting runs from April 19-27. Election Day is May 1.

Registered voters wanting to cast their ballot by mail must request a mail-in ballot by April 20. Vote by mail is open to Texans who are age 65 and older, sick or disabled, out of the county during the election period or in jail but eligible to vote.

About 58% of voting age citizens in El Paso County are registered to vote, Wise said.

May elections historically see extremely low turnout. In 2019, only 5% of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot, down from 2017’s 8% turnout.

November’s presidential election, which coincided with the mayor and City Council elections, saw a record 55% turnout.

Local elections are as important as state and federal ones, Wise said. “Everyone knows the saying that all politics are local and it’s true,” she wrote in an email.

In addition to the school board races, Anthony and Horizon City have elections this May as do the Paseo del Este Municipal Utility Districts, the Horizon Regional Municipal Utility District and Emergency Services District 1.

“These elected bodies deal with issues that greatly affect our day to day lives,” Wise wrote. “If a constituent has a concern or suggestion, they will oftentimes be able to speak directly with their elected official which is not always the case at the higher levels of government.”

Cover illustration courtesy of the National Association of School Boards.

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014.