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Elections and Voter Information

Voter Information

Primary Finance Expenditure and Reporting Guidelines

Overview

The Secretary of State initially distributes funding to the county chairs, county election officers and voting system vendors based on estimated primary election costs. Seventy-five (75%) of the approved estimated cost is advanced to county chairs and county election officers.  Estimates are submitted for both the primary and runoff elections, if applicable. After the primary and runoff, a Final Cost Report (FCR) detailing actual costs must be submitted to the SOS. The net difference between the final costs and revenue received prior to the election (i.e., estimate payments and filing fees) will result in either another payment being issued by the state or funds will be due back to the state. Primary/Runoff estimates and FCRs must be submitted via the Online Primary Finance System prescribed by the Secretary of State. If you do not have your user ID and password or otherwise need assistance, please email the Election Funds Management team or call 800-252-2216 (option 3 for Election Funds Management).

Statistics

The following is a line by line description of the statistics for the primary and runoff elections.

While the county chair is required to report these statistics via the SOS online primary finance system, the custodian of election records has these figures on hand. If necessary, county chair should contact the county election officer for the data.

Payable Expenses

Note: These expenses may be contracted or non-contracted. If performed or provided per an election services contract by the county election officer, the county election officer will be required to submit the costs via the SOS online primary finance system.

*If services or items were performed or provided by a vendor, neither county chair nor county election officer should enter these costs into the online primary finance system. These expenses will be reported to SOS by the vendor and SOS will pay vendors directly. If an item is non-contracted, 5% of the expense will be calculated to be paid to the county chair as chair compensation. If an item is contracted, 10% of the expense will be calculated to be paid to the county as a general supervision fee.

Note: Section 172.1112(a), in conjunction with 4.003(b) of the Texas Election Code does not require that a “notice of election” for the primary or runoff be published in a newspaper.  These notices are required to be posted on a bulletin board used for posting notice of meetings of the commissioner’s court. Accordingly, primary funds may not be used to publish these notices in your local newspaper.

Administrative Costs

Please review 1 TAC §81. 123 for the administrative costs caps applicable to your county.

Financing Sources

Non-Payable Items

Pursuant to §173.001 of the Texas Election Code, only expenses necessary for and directly related to the conduct of primary elections are payable from primary funds.

(b) Political expenses and expenses for any activity forbidden by statute or rule are not payable from the primary fund. Examples of non-payable expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

Supporting Documentation

Texas Secretary of State
Election Funds Management Section
P. O. Box 12060
Austin, Texas 78711-2060

Please note: expenses and supporting documentation should be submitted by the entity incurring the cost (e.g. county election officers who perform the service of appointing and paying election workers should enter the cost into the SOS Online Primary Finance System and provide the documentation to our office).

Primary Finance Dates to Remember

November 2017
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1st Earliest date estimate payments will be issued.
1st Earliest date primary costs may be incurred.
2nd Recommended date by which county chairs who wish to conduct a joint primary should meet with the county election officer to determine whether to enter into a joint resolution to conduct the primary, and if the determination is in the affirmative, to discuss potential consolidation or combination of election precincts, to determine the estimated number of election judges and clerks, members of the early voting ballot board, and central counting station personnel to be appointed from the parties, and to decide which voting system and ballot formats are to be used. (Sec. 172.126(a)).
2nd Even if a joint primary will not be conducted, recommended date by which county chairs should meet with the county election officer to discuss whether a contract for election services should be entered into, the terms of such a contract, potential consolidation or combination of election precincts, the estimated number of election judges and clerks, members of the early voting ballot board, and central counting station personnel that will be needed and how they will be obtained, and which voting system and ballot formats will be used. (Secs. 31.092, 31.094 & 172.1113, as created by House Bill 1996, 2013 Legislative Session).
December 2017
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Early Dec. Recommended timeframe for Commissioner’s Court to vote on approval of resolution to conduct a joint election.
19th Deadline for county and state chairs to electronically submit candidate information and status for posting on the Secretary of State’s website.
21st Deadline for state chair to notify county chairs names for placement on the general primary election ballot have been certified.
January 2018
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20th

Deadline to submit primary cost estimate.
March 2018
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6th Primary Election

16th

Deadline to submit runoff primary cost estimate.
April 2018
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May 2018
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22nd

Runoff Primary Election
June 2018
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11th New county chair term begins
July 2018
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11th Outgoing county chair must transfer party bank accounts and records to incoming county chair.
August 2018
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31st Deadline to submit final cost report.

 

Final Primary Election Cost Report Checklist

Primary Finance – Final Cost Report Submission Checklist
Item needed to complete review Chair County
Copy of a signed contract for election services and joint resolution (if applicable)  
Copies of all bank statements from November of the year preceding the primary election through the last day of the month in which the primary or runoff election is held  
Copies of all invoices, bills and receipts for items attributable to the primary election
Copies of all signed compensation sheets from each of the polling locations, central count, and early voting ballot board
Copies of any office or equipment leases and bids  
Copies of personnel attachments stating who, what, when and how much
Detailed itemization of anything listed under “other costs” with timesheets, receipts, bills, etc.
Copies of county employees’ timesheets showing overtime hours worked in election preparation, etc.  
Documented serial number and invoice for a computer purchased with primary funds  
Final Cost Report Submitted online through Primary Finance System

The following items have not been included in the costs reported to SOS:

✓ “In-house” ballot production costs beyond actual costs incurred (Sec. 31.100, Tx Elec Code).

✓ “In-house” programming of voting equipment beyond actual costs incurred, including county personnel during normal work hours (Sec. 31.100, Tx Elec Code).

✓ Costs for county staff time preparing for the public L&A testing nor hourly charges for testers (Sec. 129.023, Tx Elec Code).

✓ Technical support provided by county personnel during normal work hours (Sec. 31.100, Tx Elec Code).

✓ Early voting election kit costs.

✓ Removable voting system components, such as a flash drive or accessibility components.

✓ County-owned equipment, including ballot boxes and voting booths.

✓ County personnel compensation during normal work hours preparing and transporting equipment and supplies (Sec. 31.100, Tx Elec Code).

✓ Personnel, utilities, or other expenses incurred before or after regular business hours for the use of a public building for a polling place (Sec. 43.033, Tx Elec Code).

✓ Election judge and clerk compensation beyond $8 per hour for election day and central counting station, including the early voting and late/provisional ballot boards.

✓ Central counting station manager compensation beyond the market rate for comparable work, e.g., county staff rate of pay to perform duties outlined in Sec. 127.002, Tx Elec Code.

✓ Tabulation supervisor and assistant tabulation supervisor compensation beyond the market rate for comparable work, e.g., county staff rate of pay to perform duties outlined in Sec. 127.003, Tx Elec Code.

✓ Political expenses, such as county and state conventions, get-out-the-vote drives, candidate forums and recruitment.

✓ Food and drink.