March 18, 2020 | Blog, COVID-19, Elections

COVID-19 ALERT: Governor Allows Local May Elections to be Postponed to November

by Holly James

Governor Abbott issued a proclamation today that suspends provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow political subdivisions to postpone their May 2, 2020 local elections until November 3, 2020.  This action is aimed at avoiding large gatherings of members of the public in the continued effort to stem the tide of COVID-19.  Governor Abbott strongly encourages local election officials to take advantage of these waivers. The press release announcing the proclamation is available here.

Additionally, the Secretary of State has released an election advisory to provide guidance for political subdivisions that opt to postpone their May 2nd elections.  School boards wishing to take advantage of this waiver must order the postponement by adopting a resolution containing the following items:

  1. A reference to the proclamation that authorizes the entity to postpone their election date, and the fact that the political subdivision is exercising this authority.
  2. Confirmation that the candidate filings for the election will remain valid for the election held on the November date and that the filing period will not be re-opened for the November election date.
  3. Confirmation that all applications for ballot by mail (ABBMs) for voters that are voting by mail due to being over the age of 65 or due to disability will still be valid for the postponed election, and that ABBMs for voters who submitted ABBMs based on expected absence from the county would not be valid for the postponed election.
  4. The major relevant dates for the November election, including the voter registration deadline (October 5, 2020), the deadline to submit an ABBM (October 23, 2020), and the dates for early voting (October 19, 2020 – October 30, 2020).

Boards will also need to meet by August 17, 2020 to make necessary revisions to the original order of election.  Additional details may be found in the Secretary of State’s election advisory.

If your district needs assistance drafting a resolution or would like any additional guidance concerning this process, please reach out to one of our attorneys.

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