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Early voting underway for May 4 election that includes voting for HCAD members, Whitmire replacement

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Early voting began Monday for the upcoming election on May 4.

Among the items on the ballot — for the first time, voters will elect three Harris County Appraisal District board members.

The board oversees the group of appraisers, who, in part, decide the amount of property taxes you owe.

In November, a ballot proposition to lower property taxes included adding three elected seats to HCAD’s board.

Republican Houston-area Sen. Paul Bettencourt authored the legislation and says it was prompted by complaints from people across the state about their local appraisal districts.

The new seats are non partisan.

If you live in Senate District 15, and close to a million people in Harris County do, you’ll have the chance to decide who will finish out the term that belonged to now-Houston Mayor John Whitmire.

The last time this was an open seat was 1982, with Whitmire serving in the Senate for 40 years.

He was elected as Houston’s mayor in December, defeating U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in a runoff.

Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston) and emergency room nurse Molly Cook received 36 and 21% of the vote, respectively, during the March primary, meaning they are now set to compete against each other in this election and in a primary runoff on May 28.

“We need to make sure the person who gets there has experience because Sen. Whitmire, now Mayor Whitmire takes with him 40 years of experience. He takes with him years of relationships,” Johnson said.

“I have a Masters in public health from Johns Hopkins University and the beauty of that is that you can bring it to any committee and any issue,” Molly Cook said of her credentials.

You can go to Harris Votes and enter your address to take a look at your sample ballot before you head to the polls.

Early voting goes through next Tuesday, April 30. You can vote Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and noon – 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is April 23.

This story comes from our news partner ABC13 Houston.