Early voting for state seat vacated by Alvarado begins
Early voting begins Monday in the special election for Texas’ 145th House District and will continue through Jan. 25 at five Harris County polling sites, leading up to Election Day on Jan. 29.
Eight candidates are running for the seat, and they have had little time to campaign: Early voting comes roughly three weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled the election, the same day the seat’s previous occupant, state Sen. Carol Alvarado, was sworn into the upper chamber.
Alvarado, D-Houston, won a special election in December to represent Texas’ 6th Senate District.
The election for Alvarado’s former seat marks the first administered by Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Stan Stanart in November. Voters may already notice a change from Stanart’s tenure: Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. each day through Saturday, far longer hours than Stanart typically would set.
On Sunday, polls will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. Trautman’s office will not operate polling sites on Jan. 21, the holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Polls are scheduled to reopen Jan. 22 through Jan. 25, also from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The five early voting locations, all in Houston, are:
• The conference center of the Harris County Law Library, 1019 Congress Ave.
• Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St.
• Ripley House Neighborhood Center, 4410 Navigation Blvd.
• Houston Community College’s Southeast College parking garage, 6960 Rustic St.
• Harris County Scarsdale annex, 10851 Scarsdale Blvd.
The field consists of Republican Martha Fierro, the third-place finisher in last month’s race for the overlapping Senate District 6, along with six Democrats: Elias De La Garza, Oscar Del Toro, Ruben Gonsalez, Christina Morales, Alfred Moreno and Melissa Noriega. Libertarian Clayton Hunt is also running.
Only residents of House District 145 may cast ballots in the special election. The district covers part of the Heights and downtown, running southeast through South Houston to Beltway 8.
As voters head to the polls, Texas lawmakers are in Austin for the Legislature’s 86th regular session, which convened Tuesday. Alvarado’s former seat could remain vacant well into February if nobody receives more than 50 percent of the vote, in which case Abbott would schedule a runoff between the two candidates who receive the most votes.
Meanwhile, two other seats previously held by Democratic lawmakers remain open in the lower chamber. Early voting also begins Monday in the election for the 79th House District in El Paso, left open when former Rep. Joe Pickett resigned to deal with health problems.
Monday is the filing deadline for the special election in San Antonio’s House District 125, previously held by San Antonio Democrat Justin Rodriguez. He resigned after he was appointed as a Bexar County commissioner.