AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The 2023 Election Season officially kicks off Wednesday, as residents from the city of Amarillo, along with the city of Canyon, will officially get to file for a spot on the May 2023 Election ballot.

For those voting in the May 2023 election, the last day to register to vote in the May 2023 election is April 6, with Early Voting scheduled from April 24 to May 2.

City of Amarillo

For the city of Amarillo, spots are open on the Amarillo City Council, along with the Amarillo Mayor position, for the May 2023 election. This comes as multiple Amarillo residents have already announced their intention to run for an open city of Amarillo position. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the following individuals have announced, as of Jan. 18:

  • Hobert “Gunny” Brown – intention to run for Place 4;
  • Freda Powell – intention to run for Amarillo Mayor;
  • Tom Scherlen – intention to run for Place 3;
  • Don Tipps – intention to run for Place 2;
  • Tonya Winston – intention to run for Amarillo Mayor.

Current Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, along with Amarillo City Council members Eddy Sauer and Howard Smith, have announced their intentions to not run for reelection for their positions, according to previous reports.

According to documents obtained by MyHighPlains.com from the city of Amarillo, candidates who are running for these positions are considered to be local filers, causing all forms for these positions to be filed with the city secretary. Some of the necessary documents include:

  • Application for a Place on the City General Election Ballot between Jan. 18 and Feb. 17;
  • Petition for a Place on the City General Election Ballot, consisting of a petition signed by 100 registered voters or a $100 application fee;
  • Authorization to release personal email;
  • Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer by a candidate, which is required to be on file before any money is accepted or expended; 
  • Code of Fair Campaign Practices, an optional form but one that candidates are encouraged to file; 
  • Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Report;
  • Candidate/Officeholder report of unexpected contributions.

Per Texas Election Code, there are certain requirements for individuals to run for public office in the state of Texas, including that the person is 18 years or older on the first day of the term to be filled at the election or on the date of appointment. Other requirements include that they have resided continuously in Texas for 12 months and they have to be a U.S. Citizen.

Per the Amarillo City Charter, the mayor and councilmembers are required to be resident citizens of the city of Amarillo and are required to have been for at least 12 months prior to the election. Those elected to the position cannot hold any other public office and cannot be interested in the “profits or emolument of any contracts, job, work or service for the municipality or interested in the sale to the city of any supplies, equipment, material or articles purchased. “

A term as the Amarillo Mayor or City Council member is two years, with Election Day occurring on the first Saturday of May in odd-numbered years. This year’s election will be on May 6.

Filing for a place on the ballot will end at 5 p.m. on Feb. 17, city of Amarillo officials said. Officials stressed that applications are required to be received by the city secretary by that time and late applications will not be accepted.

As of Jan. 18, the following individuals have filed their applications for a place on the May 2023 Election ballot:

  • Mayor
    • Freda Powell
    • Tonya C. Winston
  • Councilmember – Place 3
    • Tom Scherlen
  • Councilmember – Place 4
    • Hobert Gunny Brown

This story will be updated as applications are officially filed for a place on the ballot.

City of Canyon

Like the city of Amarillo, the city of Canyon will also fill their respective City Commission spots in the May 2023 election, including Place 1 (Mayor) and Places 2-5. Officials with the city of Canyon said on their website that a candidate’s required election documents are filed with the city secretary’s office.

Applications for a place on the ballot will be accepted starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday and will be accepted during regular business hours through Feb. 17. The offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The documents can also be sent to the following address by the deadline:

City of Canyon City Hall
City Secretary’s Office, Second Floor
301 16th Street
Canyon, Texas 79015    

As of Jan. 18, the following individuals have filed their applications for a place on the May 2023 Election ballot:

  • Mayor – Place 1
    • Gary Hinders, incumbent
  • Commissioner – Place 2
    • Cody Jones, incumbent
  • Commissioner – Place 3
    • Paul R. Lyons – incumbent

This story will be updated as more applications are officially filed for a place on the ballot.

Amarillo College

For the May 2023 election, three spots on the Amarillo College Board of Regents, including the spots currently filled by Vice Chairman Jay Barrett, Michele Fortunato and Secretary Sally Jennings, will be on the ballot.

Officials with Amarillo College told MyHighPlains.com that Amarillo residents are able to file for a place on the ballot through 5 p.m. on Feb. 17. Officials also stressed that the last day for write-in candidates to file “Declarations of Write-In Candidacy” is Feb. 21.

For more information, including the links to necessary documents to file for a Board of Regents position, visit the Amarillo College website. Residents are also able to pick up a printed version of the documents at the President’s Office, located in Room 202 of the College Union Building of the college’s Washington Street campus.

As of Jan. 18, the following individuals have filed their applications for a place on the May 2023 Election ballot, according to Amarillo College officials:

  • Jay Barrett, incumbent
  • Michele Fortunato, incumbent
  • Mike Yazbek

This story will be updated as applications are officially filed for a place on the ballot.

Amarillo Independent School District

Like Amarillo College, the Amarillo Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will also have three open spots on the May 2023 ballot, including the spots currently held by Kimberly Anderson, Alonzo Everhart and Dick Ford.

According to the district’s website, residents are required to meet the following qualifications to be eligible to be an Amarillo ISD board member:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have not been determined to be mentally incapacitated
  • Have not been convicted of a felony charge
  • Be a resident of Texas and the Amarillo Independent School District
  • Be registered to vote

On their website, trustees in Amarillo ISD are elected according to an at-large cumulative voting method, with each voter having a number of votes equal to the number of trustee positions up for election. This year, voters will have three votes to give in any combination for the candidates.

The filing period for a place on the ballot ends at 5 p.m. on Feb. 17.

The following individuals have filed for their place on the ballot, as of Jan. 27:

  • Kimberly Anderson
  • Dick Ford
  • Robin Leeah
  • Steve Trafton

Canyon ISD

With the recent retirement of Place 3 member Randy Darnell, Canyon ISD will now have three members of its board up for election in May, including the spots currently held by Paul Blake and Katharyn Wiegand.

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Darnell announced his retirement at a Canyon ISD board meeting earlier this month and the board decided that the best approach to fill his spot would be in a special election for May. Darnell’s seat was originally expected to be up in 2025.

The district’s website states that the following criteria are required to be met for anyone who runs for a board seat:

  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be 18 years of age or older on the first day of the term to be filled at the election or on the date of appointment, as applicable.
  • Have not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
  • Have not been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.
  • Have resided continuously in the state for twelve (12) months and in the territory from which the office is elected (in this case, Canyon ISD) for six (6) months immediately preceding the date the appointment is made.
  • Be registered to vote in the territory (Canyon ISD) from which the office is elected on the date described in item 5, above.

The last date residents can file for a place on the ballot is Feb. 17.

This story will be updated as applications are officially filed for a place on the ballot.

This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.

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