Dates To Know
Deadline to register to vote: October 5
Early voting: October 13-30
Election Day: November 3
The November 3 election is set to have significant impacts on federal, state, and local governments. The following information is intended to help members prepare to vote in this important election.
Setting the stage
Republicans hold every statewide office in Texas and have majorities in the U.S. Senate and both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
However, legislative maps are nearly a decade old, and the state’s demographics and voting patterns have changed.
The Texas Legislature is expected to take up redistricting in 2021, but these discussions will be greatly informed by the U.S. Census Bureau’s population count in 2020.
What’s on the ballot?
Texas voters will have lengthy ballots that include the presidential and federal races, judicial contests, state legislative seats, and a wide range of local races, as nearly all May elections were moved to November 3.
Visit your county’s election website to see a sample ballot with all the races you’ll be voting on.
Note: You’re allowed to take a list of candidates with you to the polls. However, the law says you cannot use a recording device, including your smartphone, in the voting booth.
End of straight-ticket voting
The November 3, 2020, election will be the first election without straight-ticket voting since the Texas Legislature ended this option.
This process had enabled voters to check one box and cast their ballot for all of the candidates on their ballot who were running in a particular political party.
For perspective, consider that, in 2018, 67% of ballots cast statewide were straight-ticket.
Note that many local elections are nonpartisan and therefore don’t include political party on the ballot.
What’s at stake?
Most seats in the Texas Legislature will be on the November ballot. The winners in these races will join the 87th Texas Legislature, which is set to convene in January.
The Legislature will have its hands full with some complicated issues, including a likely budget shortfall due to depressed oil prices and decreased sales tax revenue during the pandemic.
It may also address other big issues, such as healthcare, criminal justice reform, and public school funding.
And it will be charged with drawing the next set of legislative and congressional maps to determine Texas representation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a direct impact on elections through postponed dates, extended early voting, and health concerns about in-person voting leading to more interest in voting by mail.
In addition, many polling places have been closed due to a shortage of poll workers or inability to accommodate social distancing—be sure to check your county’s list of polling places to see which will be open.
Gov. Greg Abbott extended early voting by one week to begin October 13, so Texas voters will have more time to cast their ballots in the general election.
Voters should expect to comply with regulations regarding social distancing guidelines and face coverings.
The number of people who go to the polls is generally higher when the presidential race is on the ballot than in non-presidential elections. But it is unknown how the pandemic might affect turnout.
Real estate is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state and country.
Electing officials who understand real estate and have relationships with local REALTORS® ensures Texas will remain a great place to buy, sell, lease, and own real property.
Join the Team
The Texas REALTOR® Legislative Contact Teams are vital to the success of the association’s political and legislative advocacy, especially during legislative sessions. Team members are REALTORS® responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with legislators and staff.
Contact Political Affairs Specialist Joanna Ramirez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-370-2103 for details.
How REALTORS® can help
The REALTOR®-supported candidates on the ballot need help to become the elected officials who will make laws and regulations that govern the real estate industry.
Texas REALTORS® Political Involvement Committee Chairman Brandy Guthrie urges members to engage in these important races.
“This is a perfect opportunity for Texas REALTORS® to get involved with TREPAC-supported candidates. Campaigns are always looking for help from volunteers.”
TREPAC Chairman Tony Lloyd says, “We’ve seen candidate fundraising numbers drop, which really underscores the importance of TREPAC and grassroots support from Texas REALTORS®.”
Contact your Texas REALTORS® field representatives to learn how you can help. Visit texasrealestate.com/fieldreps to learn more.
The REALTOR® difference
No matter the election, history has shown that Texas REALTORS® are far more likely to vote than non-members.
In the 2016 presidential election, for example, 86% of Texas REALTORS® members voted, compared to 65% of registered voters overall.
REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol
REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol, held during each legislative session, is a major component of the association’s legislative efforts.
REALTOR® Day localizes, personalizes, and reinforces the association’s legislative agenda, putting lawmakers face-to-face with their constituents.
Lawmakers care about their constituents’ opinions, so there is no better way to get their attention than to have politically astute REALTORS® from back home travel to Austin to discuss current legislation.
During the event, REALTORS® from across the state meet with their respective members of the Texas House and Senate to discuss the potential impacts that current legislation may have on communities.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic may affect in-person visits to the Texas Capitol in 2021.
Your state association will ensure you have the latest updates on the 2021 event.
Texas REALTORS® 2020 Voter Guide
Visit texasrealtorssupport.com and enter your address or log in to see the candidates on your ballot who are supported by TREPAC in state races or RPAC in federal races (must log in to view federal candidates), as determined by REALTORS®.
The process for selecting TREPAC-supported candidates begins locally. REALTOR® associations across the state conduct candidate interviews and submit recommendations to the TREPAC trustees. Meanwhile, the Texas REALTORS® Political Involvement Committee examines each race in depth and provides additional input to the TREPAC trustees. The trustees consider all factors and vote on which candidates earn TREPAC support.
Don’t miss your chance to play an integral role in the political process.
Become an Advocate
For the first time ever, the annual, nationally recognized Texas REALTORS® TREPAC/Governmental Affairs Orientation program will be open to all members.
This virtual event will take place over two weeks (October 27-28 and November 4-5) and feature well-known speakers and political insiders—all to help you become a strong advocate for real estate consumers and the real estate industry.
- Jeff Blaylock, Texas Election Source
- Mehrsa Baradaran, author of The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap
- Rich Thau, The Swing Voter Project
- Congressional Management Foundation
- National Association of REALTORS® leaders:
- Charlie Oppler, NAR 2020 President-Elect
- Leslie Rouda Smith, NAR 2020 First Vice President
- Bob Goldberg, NAR Chief Executive Officer
Did You Miss It?
The Texas REALTORS® #ShapingTexas Conference in September featured several sessions to inform members about the 2020 election
and 2021 legislative session. (Read the full recap on pages 22–25.)
Watch recordings of the sessions with state and federal lawmakers, political reporters, and Texas REALTORS® leaders at texasrealestate.com/gaevents.