Houstonians to elect new mayor, decide HERO's fate at the polls

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From the Houston mayor's race to a decision on the future of the city's equal rights ordinance, there is much to decide in today's election. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Election day is here and Houston voters have a lot at stake. They will decide on the city's controversial Proposition One: Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and pick the next mayor.

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Polls opened at 7:00am Tuesday and there was a line out the door at the multi-service center on West Gray Street in Montrose. The lawn out front was packed with signs and supporters urging undecided voters to take a stance or pick a side before they headed inside to fill out a ballot.

One of those voters was Colin Sturm, who said his mind was made up.

"I'm going to go with my gut," Sturm said. "I think I can handle this."

For Sturm, the most important vote today was HERO or Prop One.

"I cannot stop hearing about (it), it's everywhere I look," he said.

Sturm isn't alone.

"Proposition One I was against and I have strong opinions about that," one voter told us.

"Houston Proposition One is something I believe strongly in," said another woman.

Supporters of HERO say it stops discrimination. Opponents call it the "Bathroom Bill" saying it encourages men to enter women's bathrooms.

"When this issue came up, and I've been in conversations with people about it, I think was enough to bring certain people into the polls," said Stacy Goldstein.

The race for Houston mayor is also on voters' minds.

"I had my mind set pretty well who I was going to vote for," said one man on his way into the polls.

"I think one person will probably pull out ahead," said another voter.

Mayoral candidates Chris Bell and Adrian Garcia were at the multi-service center early Tuesday to shake hands to greet voters, hoping to sway those undecided.

There are 13 candidates running for mayor. One has to secure at least 50 percent of the vote or the top two winners will face off in a run-off election come December.

"There's a lot of people running so I'm sure there will be a runoff," said Bruce Smith, who voted.

Organizers say as of 11 a.m. there were no issues at polling places across the county.

"As far as we know everything's going pretty good. The lines aren't that long," said George Hammerlein with the Harris County Clerk's Office.

Polls stay open until 7:00pm, and workers anticipate lines to grow around rush hour because of the major issues facing voters.

"You have to do your own homework and really kind of read behind the scenes in behind the lines and that's what I did," said Bernie Uehlein before voting.

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