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Preparing for the May 2015 Election 26th Annual Election Law Seminar Cities, Schools, and Other Political Subdivisions 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing for the May 2015 Election 26th Annual Election Law Seminar Cities, Schools, and Other Political Subdivisions 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing for the May 2015 Election 26th Annual Election Law Seminar Cities, Schools, and Other Political Subdivisions 1

2 Overview Preclearance Supplies Calendar Ballots *Statutory references are to the Texas Election Code, unless otherwise indicated. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 2

3 Preclearance From 1972 to June 25, 2013, Texas was subject to Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Section 4(b) of the federal Voting Rights Act contained the coverage formula Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, No , 2013 WL (U.S.) declares Section 4(b) of the Act unconstitutional. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 3

4 Preclearance U.S. Attorney General: “The effect of the Shelby County decision is that the jurisdictions identified by the coverage formula in Section 4(b) no longer need to seek preclearance for new voting changes, unless they are covered by a separate court order entered under Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act.” Source: December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 4

5 Preclearance Our office recommends that Texas political subdivision discuss the effect of Shelby and the continuing applicability of other provisions of the Voting Rights Act with their legal counsel December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 5

6 Supplies See the outline regarding election supplies. Outline is arranged in a way to help you organize your supplies Texas Secretary of State Elections Division6December 2014

7 Calendar & Pre-Election Procedures Texas Secretary of State Elections Division7December 2014

8 Notice of Filing Period in a building in which authority maintains an office not later than the 30th day before first day to file Special Election to Fill a Vacancy – Order includes deadline – Post notice of filing period, ASAP Political Subdivisions with no “first day to file” – post notice the 30 th day before the last day on which a candidate may file the application December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 8

9 Candidate Filing Deadline for a General Election held on May 9, 2015: Friday, February 27, 2015 Texas Secretary of State Elections Division9December 2014

10 When do I post the Notice of Filing Period? “First day to File” entities: Monday, December 29, 2014 (cities, schools, including junior colleges) Texas Secretary of State Elections Division10December 2014

11 When do I post the Notice of Filing Period? Entities with no “first day to file”: 30 th Day before the filing deadline (virtually no political subdivisions) Texas Secretary of State Elections Division11December 2014

12 First Important Date Friday, February 27, 2015Key Date: Friday, February 27, 2015 (71 st day before election day) –There are a number of major mandatory and recommended deadlines that happen on this day. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 12

13 Friday, February 27, 2015Deadline: Friday, February 27, 2015 Requirements: –(1) the date of the election; (2) the offices or measures to be voted on; (3) the location of the main early voting polling place; (4) the dates and hours for early voting, except for cities and counties; (5) the early voting dates and hours for any Saturday or Sunday voting, except for cities and counties; and (6) the early voting clerk’s official mailing address. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 13 Order of Election (General Election or Measure)

14 Order of Election Special elections to fill vacancy: As soon as practicable. –Senate Bill 910 (2013) changed these dates. –There are now two windows within which to order: Saturday, February 28, 2015On or before Saturday, February 28, 2015 (70th Day Before) Friday, March 13, 2015On or before Friday, March 13, 2015 (57th Day Before) –The order date determines the filing deadline. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 14

15 Special Election – Candidate Filings This ties back to the date the election was ordered. Two windows for filing deadline December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 15

16 Special Elections – Two Filing Windows Saturday, February 28, 2015 If election is ordered by Saturday, February 28, 2015 (70th day before election), then Monday, March 9, 2015 filing deadline is Monday, March 9, 2015 (61 st day before election day, extended from 62 nd day under ). December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 16

17 Special Elections – Two Filing Windows Friday, March 13, 2015 If election is ordered by Friday, March 13, 2015 (57th day before election), then Wednesday, March 25, 2015 filing deadline is Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (45th day before election day). December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 17

18 Recommended Deadlines Friday, February 27, 2015By Friday, February 27, 2015, we recommend: –Ordering the list of registered voters for the VR; –Ordering election supplies; –Appointing presiding and alternate judges; –Appointing central counting station personnel; –Appointing the presiding judge of the EVBB; December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 18

19 Recommended Deadlines Friday, February 27, 2015By Friday, February 27, 2015, we recommend: –Confirm availability of early voting locations; –Confirm availability of election day polling places; –Conclude any election services contracts; and –Determine how to allocate voting equipment. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 19

20 Recommended Deadlines Appointing presiding and alternate judges: –Remember that the governing body of the political subdivision appoints the election judges. –The governing body must also determine whether the appointments are for a single election or for a definite term not to exceed two years. –See Section for more information. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 20

21 Candidate Withdrawal Deadlines Regular Filing Deadline (General Election) Wednesday, March 4, 2015 –Candidate can withdraw and be removed from ballot if withdrawal by Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Special Election: Saturday, February 28, 2015 Tuesday, March 17, 2015 –If election ordered by Saturday, February 28, 2015, then withdrawal deadline is Tuesday, March 17, Friday, March 13, 2015 Monday, March 30, 2015 –If election ordered by Friday, March 13, 2015, then withdrawal deadline is Monday, March 30, December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 21

22 Applications for Ballot by Mail First Day to Accept ABBM*: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Last Day to Receive ABBM: Tuesday, April 30, 2015 Senate Bill 910 changed this deadline to the ninth day before election day (previously seventh). *NOTE: Annual ABBM may be submitted to County EV Clerk beginning January 1, 2015 December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 22

23 Federal Post Card Application Friday, May 1, 2015Last day to receive an FPCA from a registered voter is Friday, May 1, Last day for a person to apply for a full ballot by mail using an FPCA, if the person is not a registered voter, varies depending on whether the deadline is based on postmark or not. Note that Senate Bill 910 did not change these FPCA deadlines, even though it changed the deadline for ABBMs. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 23

24 Mandatory Office Hours Dates: Friday, March 20, 2015Thursday, June 18, 2015 Friday, March 20, 2015 to Thursday, June 18, 2015 Special Election: –Office hour rule is triggered starting the third day after the election is ordered. ISDs: –Must have hours on school holidays, unless state or federal holiday. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 24

25 Overseas and Military Ballots – Mailing Deadline Recommend 45 th day before election day: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Texas Secretary of State Elections Division25December 2014

26 Testing: Electronic Voting Equipment Recommendation - complete your logic and accuracy testing before you send mail ballots. Remember that notice of test must be published 48 hours before the test occurs December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 26

27 Testing: Auto Tabulation Equipment Recommendation - that your automatic tabulator testing be completed before you send out mail ballots. Remember that notice of test must be published 48 hours before the test occurs. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 27

28 Voter Registration Deadlines Thursday, April 9, 2015 –Deadline to register to vote. –Deadline to make a change of address for election. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 28

29 December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 29

30 When do I post the Notice of Election? 3 options *note: some entities have posting requirements Texas Secretary of State Elections Division30December 2014

31 Notice of Election Absent specific statutory requirements – – post notice on or before the 21 st day before election day December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 31 General Rule:

32 Notice of Election (1) Posting Notice at Election Precinct: Monday, April 20, 2015 –The deadline to post the notice in each election precinct is Monday, April 20, (2) Newspaper Notice: –Cities and school districts must publish notice in the newspaper at least once between Thursday, April 9, 2015Wednesday, April 29, 2015 Thursday, April 9, 2015 and Wednesday, April 29, December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 32 In the following ways:

33 Notice of Election (3) Mailing: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 –The deadline to mail a copy of the notice to each registered voter is Wednesday, April 29, Additional Notice: Monday, April 20, 2015 – The deadline to post notice on the bulletin board used for posting notice of public meetings is Monday, April 20, December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 33 In the following ways:

34 Notice of Election Counties, School Districts & Cities –Newspaper publication; and –Notice on government bulletin board. Home Rule Cities –Must also give notice as provided in their charters December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 34 Specific Requirements:

35 Early-Voting-in-Person Period Dates: Monday, April 27, 2015Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Monday, April 27, 2015 – Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Cities - Extended Hours: –must choose two weekdays on which to be open for 12 hours during the regular early voting period. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 35

36 Election Day 5/09/2015 December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 36 Polls Open7 a.m. – 7 p.m. EV Clerk Office Hours7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Voter Registrar Office Open7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Deadline for EV Ballots by Mail7 p.m.

37 Provisional Ballots Friday, May 15, 2015 –Deadline for voters with ID issues to cure. Saturday, May 16, 2015 –Deadline for EVBB to meet for provisional ballots. June 1, 2015 –Deadline for EVBB to send notice of outcome to provisional voters. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 37

38 Suggestion: “rolling” process. Saturday, May 16, 2015Early Voting Ballot Board loses jurisdiction to determine provisional votes after Saturday, May 16, 2015, in the absence of a court order. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 38 Provisional Ballots

39 Canvassing Tuesday, May 12, 2015 –First day of local canvass period, assuming there are no outstanding provisional ballots or overseas voters. Wednesday, May 20, 2015 –Last day of local canvass period. December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 39

40 For any other deadlines See the May Election Law calendar. Texas Secretary of State Elections Division40December 2014

41 Calendar Notes December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 41

42 Ballots Texas Secretary of State Elections Division42December 2014

43 Ballots - Overview Preparing the Ballot Ballot Form Ballot Content Ballot Correction Packaging Requirements December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 43

44 Preparing the Official Ballot For an election ordered by: a city - city secretary. an authority of a political subdivision other than a city -secretary of the subdivision’s governing body or the presiding officer if there is no secretary [§ ] December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 44

45 Deadlines no specific deadline must be prepared, finalized, and tested in time for the mail ballots to be mailed in accordance with Section , UOCAVA, and the MOVE Act December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 45

46 Specimen Ballot Preparing – 1 official ballot, for each ballot format used in each election – Marked – “SPECIMEN” Public Inspection – made available after the official ballot prepared – may not be reproduced Preservation – same period as precinct election records December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 46

47 Sample Ballot Preparation – printed on yellow paper – marked “SAMPLE BALLOT” Distribution – as directed by the authority responsible Posting – posted in each polling location may not be cast or counted December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 47

48 How many ballots do I print? Formula: A x B + C = D December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 48 A -percentage of voter turnout in a precinct B -current number of registered voters in precinct C-25% of A x B D -minimum number of ballots to be ordered

49 Local Option Elections at least the number of ballots equal to the # of registered voters in the precinct plus 10% of the number of voters December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 49

50 Ballot Form Texas Secretary of State Elections Division50December 2014

51 Printing and Format Requirements Printing – Official ballots – black ink on white or light- colored paper – May not be the same color as sample ballot Size or Type – No minimum requirement – Must be in uniform size or type December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 51

52 Printing & Format Requirements Numbering – Consecutively beginning with #1 – Emergency ballots Election and Date Designation – “OFFICIAL BALLOT” Bilingual Instructions an d Voting Squares December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 52

53 Ballot Content Texas Secretary of State Elections Division53December 2014

54 Ballot Content may contain only those offices and propositions stating measures on which the qualified voters of the precinct are entitled to vote December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 54

55 Ballot Content Candidate Names – given name or initials – nickname, if any – surname (last name) must print name as certified by the authority December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 55

56 Permitted Candidate Names contraction or familiar form of a given name by which the candidate is known suffix, such as Sr., Jr., or 2 nd nicknames December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 56

57 Nicknames Permitted – – One, unhyphenated word – Not more than 10 letters – Known for at least 3 years December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 57

58 Nicknames Nickname affidavit Set off with parenthesis or quotation marks May not have political, economic, social or religious connotations or slogan December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 58

59 Nicknames - Restrictions Titles & Designations Married Woman or Widow Candidates with Same or Similar Name Candidate’s Name – more than once on the ballot December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 59

60 Order of Parties, Offices, Names and Propositions Party Columns – Beginning on the left with (1)columns of parties with nominees for statewide & district offices; and (2)columns of parties without nominees for statewide or district offices December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 60

61 Offices regularly filled at general election for state and county offices – as listed in Sec political subdivision other than county – authority ordering election determines the order of offices Independent candidates & races without party nominees – ballot drawing December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 61

62 Ballot Drawing Posted Notice – Include – date, hour and place – Continuous for 72 hours prior Notice to Candidates – Election held at county expense – City election – Any other political subdivision (i.e. city) Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Recommended date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 62

63 Propositions Wording – Authority ordering the election prescribes wording NOTE: some statutes specify ballot wording Form of Proposition – Single statement – Appears once December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 63

64 Propositions Order of Propositions – After the listing of offices, unless, Officers election contingent on adoption of proposition – More than one measure: Authority ordering election – determines the order December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 64

65 Bond Election Additional Requirements – Issuance of Bonds or – Imposition of a tax; – Increase of a tax; or – Reduction of a tax Voting Squares December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 65

66 Ballot Correction Texas Secretary of State Elections Division66December 2014

67 Ballot Correction – Approved Methods Stickers; Line out or otherwise obscure; Reprint – Notification requirements – Destruction of incorrect ballots December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 67

68 Packaging Requirements Texas Secretary of State Elections Division68December 2014

69 Packaging Requirements Sealed – show precinct for which they were prepared & serial numbers Record of seals December 2014Texas Secretary of State Elections Division 69

70 Questions & Answers Texas Secretary of State Elections Division70December 2014


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