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Elections and Voter Information

Voter Information

Election Advisory No. 2013-01

May 11, 2013 Election Law Calendar

1. Note on Campaign Information

Under Title 15 of the Election Code, candidates must file campaign contribution and expenditure reports.  For further information and all questions about such disclosure filings, campaign finance, and political advertising, please contact the Texas Ethics Commission at 201 E. 14th St., 10th Floor, Austin, Texas 78701 (or call 512-463-5800 or visit their website at www.ethics.state.tx.us). 

2. Note on Submissions to the U.S. Department of Justice

The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that any change in any "standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting" be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance.  Changes in election precincts, polling places, and various other actions require preclearance.  Under Section 5, any change in a voting practice or procedure is legally unenforceable until the U.S. Attorney General (or a federal court in the District of Columbia) determines that the change does not have the purpose, or will not have the effect, of discriminating against racial or language minority group members.

If the governing authority of a political subdivision conducting an election has not already reviewed actions since the last election to see if any changes must be submitted for preclearance, this should be done as soon as possible.  The Elections Division recommends that submissions be made to DOJ at least 90 days before the date of the election.  If changes need to be made at the last minute, DOJ may be able to give the submission expedited consideration.  Federal rules for submissions under Section 5, Voting Rights Act, are contained in 28 C.F.R. §§ 51.20-51.28.

Our office can provide general advice on information to be included in a submission, but offers no preclearance “form”.  For more specific advice on submissions, we suggest contacting the attorney for your political subdivision. 

The Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice has 60 days in which to interpose an objection to a submitted change affecting voting.  If changes need to be made at the last minute, the Justice Department may be able to give the submission expedited consideration.  Rules for submissions under Section 5, Voting Rights Act, are contained in 28 C.F.R. §§ 51.20-51.28.
Send your submissions to the following address:

For All U.S. Postal Service Mail: For All Overnight Express Services:
Chief, Voting Section
Civil Rights Division
Room 7254-NWB
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Chief, Voting Section
Civil Rights Division
Room 7254-NWB
Department of Justice
1800 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

The Department of Justice also accepts preclearance submissions online.  For more information about how to submit your election changes online, please visit the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Voting Section homepage.

The envelope and first page of any submission must be clearly marked as follows: SUBMISSION UNDER SECTION 5, VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

The Department of Justice toll-free number is: 1-800-253-3931 or call direct (202) 307-2767.  Their fax numbers are: (202) 307-3961 or (202) 616-9514.

3. Note on Statutory References

Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Texas Election Code.  The county election officer is either the county clerk, the county elections administrator, or the county tax assessor collector, depending on the actions of county commissioners court.  (Secs. 31.031, 31.071, 31.091).  The county voter registrar is either the county clerk, the county elections administrator, or the county tax assessor collector, depending on the actions of county commissioners court.  (Secs. 12.031, 31.031, 31.071).

4. Note on Preclearance Status

This calendar reflects legislation and administrative rules that are precleared at press time.

5. Note on New Law, May Uniform Date (Odd-Numbered Years)

NEW LAW:  Counties are not authorized to hold an election ordered by county authority on the May uniform election date in an even-numbered year.  A county elections administrator may refuse to provide election services by contract for an election that is held on the May uniform election date in an even-numbered year.  (Sec. 41.001(d), Senate Bill 100 (2011)).  For May 11, 2013 (odd-numbered year) we return to the general rules:  counties are authorized to hold an election ordered by county authority; and a county elections administrator may not refuse to provide election services by contract.   

Second, many entities have chosen to re-schedule their general elections as a result of changes made by Senate Bill 100 (2011).  If you have changed your general election date, we recommend updating your records with our office.

6. Note on Joint Election Requirement for School Districts

School districts conducting trustee elections must have joint polling places on election day with either

  1. a city holding an election on the uniform election day (located wholly or partly within the school district’s boundaries);
  2. a public junior college district if it is having an election for members of its governing board in which the school district is wholly or partly located;
  3. in limited circumstances, a hospital district; or
  4. the county on the November uniform election day in even-numbered years. 

For purposes of this calendar, we will continue to use separate subheads for Cities and School Districts when their rules are different.  However, many entities will be working out joint election agreements.

7. Note on Notice of Filing Period

The authority with whom an application for a place on the ballot is filed must post a notice of the filing period dates in a building in which the authority maintains an office.  The notice must be posted not later than the 30th day before the first day to file.  (Sec. 141.040).  If you order a special election to fill a vacancy, the order must include the filing deadline; we recommend posting the notice of the filing period as soon as practicable after a special election is ordered.  The form may be found on our website. NEW LAW:  For political subdivisions that do not have a “first day” to file, post the notice the 30th day before the last day on which a candidate may file the application (if the Election Code does not designate a first day on which the candidate may file the application).  (Sec. 141.040, House Bill 2817 (2011)). 

8. Note on Notice of Elections

Political subdivisions other than cities and schools, and particular types of elections, may have specific statutory notice requirements.  In the absence of specific statutory requirements, political subdivisions must post a notice on or before the 21st day before the election. (Sec. 4.003(b)).  For the Saturday, May 11, 2013 election, this notice must be posted on or before Monday, April 22, 2013.*  The general rule is that, additionally, notice must be given using one of the following methods:

  1. By posting a notice in each election precinct in which the election is to be held on or before the 21st day before the election, Monday, April 22, 2013. (Secs. 1.006, 4.003(a)(2)).*
    *Since the 21st day before the election falls on a Saturday, the deadline is extended to the next business day.  (Sec. 1.006).
  2. By publishing the notice at least once between the 30th day and the 10th day before the election, Thursday, April 11, 2013 – Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Sec. 4.003(a)(1)).
  3. By mailing a copy of the notice to each registered voter of the territory covered by the election, not later than the 10th day before election day, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Sec. 4.003(a)(3)).

This notice must include:

  1. The type and date of the election;
  2. The location of each polling place;
  3. The hours the polls will be open;
  4. The location of the main early voting polling place;
  5. The regular dates and hours for early voting by personal appearance;
  6. The dates and hours of any Saturday or Sunday early voting, if any; and
  7. The early voting clerk’s mailing address.

Note regarding branch early voting locations:

The branch early voting locations are no longer a required part of your notice under the Election Code.  However, you will need to obtain preclearance if you make a change and omit this information from your notice.  (Sec. 4.003, House Bill 2817 (2011)).

Note for Cities and School Districts:

Cities and School Districts are required to publish their notice in a newspaper in accordance with Section 4.003(a)(1) (See B, above) and may also give any additional notice. (Sec. 4.003(c)).

Note for Home Rule Charter Cities:

Home-rule Cities MUST also give notice as provided in their charters.

Note for Cities:

Cities must choose two weekdays to be open for 12 hours during the regular early voting period.  The city council must choose the two weekdays. (Sec. 85.005(d)).

Note for All Political Subdivisions, Except Counties & Cities:

Voting on ANY Saturday or Sunday must be included in the order and notice of election. (Secs. 85.006 & 85.007).

Note for All Political Subdivisions, Except Counties:

The governing body of a political subdivision must deliver notice of the election to the county clerk and voter registrar of each county in which the political subdivision is located not later than the 60th day before election day, Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (Sec. 4.008).

Notice of Previous Polling Place:

If a different polling place is being used from the previous election held by the same authority, notice must be posted at the entrance of the previous polling place informing voters of the current polling place location, if possible. (Sec. 43.062).

9. Note on Testing Tabulating Equipment

The automatic tabulating equipment used for counting ballots at a central counting station must be tested three times for each election.  We recommend you test the equipment as soon as possible; however, the first test must be conducted at least 48 hours before the automatic tabulating equipment is used to count ballots voted in the election.  The second test shall be conducted immediately before the counting of ballots with the equipment begins.  The third test must be conducted immediately after the counting of ballots with the equipment is completed.  Please note that the custodian of the automatic tabulating equipment must publish notice of the date, hour, and place of the first test in a newspaper at least 48 hours before the date of the test. 

The automatic tabulating equipment may not be used to count ballots voted in the election until a test is successful. 

For more information on testing tabulating equipment used at the central counting station, please see Chapter 127, Subchapter D of the Election Code and Tex. Sec’y of State Election Advisory No. 2012-03.

See Chapter 129, Subchapter B of the Election Code and Tex. Sec’y of State Election Advisory No. 2012-03 for other types of testing such as functionality tests, logic and accuracy tests, tests for central accumulators, etc.  Also see Tex. Sec’y of State Election Advisory Nos. 2011-17, 2011-18, and 2011-19 pertaining to voting system equipment access, security and preservation, and chain of custody.

Calendar of Events

Monday, December 31, 2012 (30th day before Wednesday, January 30, 2013)

Cities and Schools (including junior colleges): Post notice of the filing period dates in a building in which the authority maintains an office.  The notice must be posted not later than the 30th day before the first day to file.  (Sec. 141.040).  NEW LAW:  For political subdivisions that do not have a “first day” to file, post the notice the 30th day before the last day on which a candidate may file the application (if the Election Code does not designate a first day on which the candidate may file the application).  (Sec. 141.040, House Bill 2817 (2011)). See also entry at Friday, March 1, 2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 (101st day before election day, 30th day before Friday, March 1, 2013)

Cities and Schools (including junior colleges and community colleges) only: First day to file an application for a place on the ballot. (Sec. 143.007, Election Code; 11.055 & 130.082(g), Education Code). 

All Other Districts: Generally, there is no "first" day to file for other districts. 

NOTE:     We are often asked how filing can begin if you have not yet ordered the general election.  You do not need to order your general (regularly occurring) election in order for the filing period to begin.

Monday, February 11, 2013 (89th day before election day)

Last day for eligible political subdivisions to submit notice or application of undue burden status to the Secretary of State for exemption from accessible voting system requirement.  (Sec. 1.006, 61.013).  For additional information, consult most current advisory on this topic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013(day before 2nd day before filing deadline)

If a candidate dies on or before this date, his or her name is not placed on the ballot, if the filing deadline is Friday, March 1, 2013.  (Sec. 145.094(a)(1)).

Friday, March 1, 2013 (71st day before election day)

5:00 p.m. -      Except as otherwise provided by the Election Code, the deadline to file an application for a place on the ballot. (Secs. 143.007(a), 144.005(a), Election Code; Sec. 11.055, Education Code; Chapter 286, Health & Safety Code).

For your future reference, please note that these deadlines are not the same for elections held on the November date in an even-numbered year.

5:00 p.m. -      Deadline for write-in candidates to file declarations of write-in candidacy for regular officers for city, school district, library district, junior college district, hospital district, common school districts, Chapter 36 and 49 Water Code districts, and other political subdivision elections, unless otherwise provided by law.  (Secs. 144.006, 146.054, 146.055, 146.083 Election Code; Secs. 11.056, 11.304, 130.0825, Education Code; Secs. 326.0431, 326.0432, Local Government Code; Section 285.131, Health and Safety Code; and Secs. 36.059, 49.101, 63.0945, Water Code).

NEW LAW:  Senate Bill 100 (2011) amended the write-in declaration deadline for most local entities to be the same day as the regular filing deadline (for this uniform election date).  Note:  As the laws were amended to apply to elections held on a uniform date other than the November even-numbered year election date, this means that the 71st day is the deadline for a write-in declaration for a special election.  See especially Sections 144.006, 146.054, as amended.

Deadline to Order General Election

Last day for political subdivisions to order a general election to be held on Saturday, May 11, 2013, unless otherwise provided by the Election Code. (Sec. 3.005).

The order must include:

  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. (Recommended) branch early voting polling places (see Note 8 prior to Calendar of Events);
  5. The dates and hours for early voting (it is recommended that this information be included in the order for counties and cities, but it must be included for all other entities) (Cities must include the two designated weekdays for which early voting will be held for 12 hours);
  6. The dates and hours of any Saturday and Sunday early voting (if applicable, it is recommended that this information be included in the order for counties and cities, but it must be included for all other entities); and
  7. The early voting clerk’s official mailing address.

Important Note for City offices with four-year terms: If no candidate files for a particular office by the deadline, the deadline is extended to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013 (57th day before election day).  (Sec. 143.008).

Important Note for School Districts: Even if it is spring break, if a candidate attempts to file at the correct place and no filing official is there, the candidate may have legal grounds to go to court in a mandamus action to compel the school district to accept the application later.  For this reason, we strongly recommend having someone available at the place of business on a filing deadline, especially from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (This guideline is based on the office-hour rule that starts later.)  Even if you also accept applications by mail and fax, if you do not have someone there at 5:00 p.m., you will have no reliable witness to say who has met the deadline.

Note on Candidate’s Application Filed by Mail: An application by mail is considered to be filed at the time of its receipt by the appropriate filing authority. (Secs. 143.007(b), 144.005(b)).

Note on Ballot Position Drawing:  First day to post notice of ballot position drawing if drawing is to be conducted on Monday, March 4, 2013.  This notice must be posted for 72 hours immediately preceding the time of the drawing. (Sec. 52.094(c)).

For an election not held at city expense, a notice of ballot position drawing must be mailed to candidates by this date if drawing is to be conducted on Monday, March 4, 2013.  (Sec. 52.094(d)).  Candidates who have not filed by this date should be given a copy of the notice at the time they file.

For an election held at city expense, if a candidate gives the filing authority a written request, accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope, the filing authority must mail the candidate a notice of ballot position drawing.  (Sec. 52.094(d)).

Recommended date to order the lists of registered voters from the county voter registrar.  The list should include both the voters’ residences and mailing addresses in order to conduct early voting by mail. (Sec. 18.006).

Recommended date to confirm telephone number for the county voter registrar’s office on election day.

Recommended date to order election supplies.

Recommended date to appoint presiding and alternate judges.  Currently, the Election Code does not establish a deadline for appointing election officials; there is only a notification deadline.  For further information concerning procedures for appointing judges and their alternates, see Sections 32.005, 32.008, and 32.011.  General eligibility requirements are found in Subchapter C, Chapter 32.  In addition to appointing a judge and alternate judge for each election precinct pursuant to Sections 32.001 and 32.005, the governing body must allow the judge to appoint no less than two clerks; however, the alternate judge must serve as one of the clerks as a matter of law. The presiding judge then appoints an additional clerk(s), but not more than the maximum set by the governing body. (Sec. 32.033).  Presiding judges and their alternates must be given notice of their appointments not later than the 20th day after the appointment is made. (Sec. 32.009).  This notice may be combined with the writ of election pursuant to Section 32.009, which is required in accordance with Section 4.007 to be delivered to each presiding judge not later than the 15th day before the election, Friday, April 26, 2013.  If the notices are combined, both must be delivered by the date required in the earlier notice.

Also the recommended date to appoint the central counting station personnel, if applicable (Secs. 127.002, 127.003, 127.004, and 127.005), and to appoint the presiding judge of the early voting ballot board or to designate the election workers of one election precinct to serve as the early voting ballot board (Secs. 87.001, 87.002, and 87.004).  General eligibility requirements are found, as applicable, in Subchapter C, Chapter 32, Section 87.003, and Sections 127.002-127.005.  There is no statutory notice requirement for members of the early voting ballot board or central counting station personnel, but good practice suggests that written notice be given to them.

Saturday, March 2, 2013 (70th day before election day)

Last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy (if authorized to fill vacancies by special election) and have the filing deadline be the 62nd day before election day, extended to Monday, March 11, 2013). 

NOTE:     Section 201.054 provides for three possible times to order a special election to be held on the May uniform date, each triggering a different filing deadline.  These are:  (1) on or before the 70th day before election day (62nd day deadline); (2) the 36th day before election day (31st day deadline); and (3) the 30th day before election day (deadline depends on factors in Section 201.054).  This is the "first" of the three possible ordering times.  We do not interpret the 70th day order date here as “moving” to the next business day because the date falls on Saturday (and Texas Independence Day, March 2), as this is not the last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy for this uniform election date.

For your future reference, please note that these deadlines are not the same for elections held on the November uniform election date in an even-numbered year.  Senate Bill 100 (2011) amended subsection 201.054(f), applicable to elections on the uniform date in November of even-numbered years.

Monday, March 4, 2013 (3rd day after the filing deadline)

5:00 p.m. -      Last day for a candidate to withdraw in an election for which the filing deadline is the 71st day before election dayIf a candidate withdraws or is declared ineligible by this date, his or her name is omitted from the ballot. (Secs. 145.092(a) and 145.094(a)(2)).

NEW LAW:  The new general rule for withdrawal deadlines for city, school district, and other local elections is 5:00 p.m. of the third day after the regular filing deadline, pursuant to Section 145.094, as amended.  House Bill 2817, Senate Bill 100 (2011).  Note:  This deadline conflicts with Section 145.096 (deceased or ineligible candidate’s name to appear on ballot), which was not amended in 2011 to be consistent with the new law.  We view the new law as prevailing.

Recommended date to conduct ballot position drawing. (Sec. 52.094).

Recommended first day that an election may be cancelled IF all filing deadlines have passed and each candidate for an office listed on the ballot is unopposed. (Sec. 2.052).  This recommendation presumes a filing deadline of Friday, March 1, 2013 and a write-in deadline of Friday, March 1, 2013.  Special elections may have different deadlines, and may now be cancelled separately.

Note for a Political Subdivision Holding a Special Vacancy Election:  If you are having a special election to fill a vacancy for an unexpired (partial) term, you must not cancel the special election until after all deadlines to file for a special vacancy election has passed.  (Reminder: The cancellation procedures allow general and special elections to be considered separate elections for cancellation purposes.  If the elections are separated, note there are procedures related to listing unopposed candidates in the same relative order on the ballot.  For additional information see Section 2.053 and Cancellation of Elections on our website.)

Monday, March 11, 2013 (61st day before election day, extended from 62nd day)

5:00 p.m. -      Last day to file for a place on the ballot in a special election to fill a vacancy, IF the special election is ordered on or before the 70th day before election day, Saturday, March 2, 2013. (Sec. 201.054).  (For new law about write-in declaration deadline, see entry at Friday, March 1, 2013.  For more details about Section 201.054 and the three possible special election deadlines, see entry at Saturday, March 2, 2013.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 (60th day before election day)

First day to accept regular applications for early voting ballots by mail for any May 11, 2013 election. (Sec. 84.007).  Reminder:  FPCA’s filed before September 1, 2011 are valid for a period of two federal elections for all elections.  FPCA’s filed on or after January 1, 2013 are valid until December 31, 2013 (i.e., calendar year; new law effective September 1, 2011).  (Sec. 101.052, Senate Bill 100 (2011)).  For questions about an FPCA filed in previous years, contact our office for more details.

Last day for the governing body of a political subdivision to deliver notice of the election to the county clerk/elections administrator and voter registrar of each county in which the political subdivision is wholly or partly located. (Sec. 4.008).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 (53rd day before election day)

5:00 p.m. -      Last day for a candidate to withdraw in an election for which the filing deadline is the 62nd day before election day (for example, a special election).  If a candidate withdraws or is declared ineligible by this date, his or her name is omitted from the ballot. (Secs. 145.092(b) and 145.094(a)(3)).

Thursday, March 21, 2013 (51st day before election day, 20th day after March 1, 2013)

Last day to notify election judges of their appointment if they were appointed, as recommended, by Friday, March 1, 2013. (Sec. 32.009(b)).  Presiding and alternate judges must be notified of their appointment in writing, not later than the 20th day after the date the appointment is made.  The notice of the judge’s duty to conduct the election (writ of election) pursuant to Section 4.007 may be combined with the above notice, if the appointment is for a single election only.  If the notices are NOT combined, then the notice of the judge’s duty to conduct the election (writ of election) must be delivered not later than Friday, April 26, 2013 (15th day before election day).

Friday, March 22, 2013 - Thursday, June 20, 2013 (50th day before election day – 40th day after election day)*

Mandatory office hours: Each county clerk, city secretary, or secretary of a governing body (or the person performing duties of a secretary) must keep the office open for election duties for at least 3 hours each day, during regular office hours, on regular business days. (Sec. 31.122).

Note for Independent School Districts: A regular business day means a day on which the school district’s main business office is regularly open for business. (Sec. 31.122(b)).  If a school holiday falls on a day during the early voting by personal appearance period that is not a federal or state holiday (see listing under Sec. 1.006 in BI Company's Texas Election Laws 2012-2013 Edition), the independent school district is still required to be open to conduct early voting by personal appearance.

*Note:  In the case of a special election, the office hour rule is triggered starting the third day after the special election is ordered.  (Sec. 31.122).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 (45th day before election day)

Recommended date to mail overseas and military ballots.

Early voting clerk may begin mailing early voting ballots to applicants as soon as ballots are available, but we strongly recommend that ballots be mailed no later than the 45th day before the election, if possible. (Sec. 86.004).  Reminder: the early voting clerk must mail a ballot not later than the 7th day after the later of the date the early voting clerk has accepted a voter’s application for a ballot by mail or the date the ballots become available for mailing.  However, if the 7th day falls earlier than the 45th day before election day, the voter’s mail ballot must be mailed no later than the 38th day before election day.  Please note this deadline is not extended under Section 1.006. (Sec. 86.004).

Friday, April 5, 2013 (36th day before election day)

Last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy if ordered after the 70th day before election day (if authorized by law to order such an election) in order to have a Wednesday, April 10, 2013 candidate application deadline (31st day before election). (See entry at Saturday, March 2, 2013)  (Sec. 201.054(a)(3)).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 (31st day before election day)

5:00 p.m. -   Last day to file for a place on the ballot in a special election to fill a vacancy, if the special election is ordered after the 70th day but on or before April 5, 2013, the 36th day before election day. (Sec. 201.054(a)(2)).  (For new law about write-in declaration deadline, see entry at March 1, 2013.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 (30th day before election day)

Last day to register to vote for the Saturday, May 11, 2013 election. (Sec. 13.143).

NOTE:     An FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) also serves as an application for permanent registration under Texas law; originals should be forwarded to the county voter registrar, after making a copy for the early voting clerk’s use (mailing ballots, etc.) and records unless the voter marked “indefinitely away” (older form) or away without intent to return (newer form) in which case, it will not serve as a permanent registration.  (Sec. 101.006; 1 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 81.40).

Last day for a voter to make a change of address that will be effective for the election. (Sec. 15.025).

"Third" and final deadline to order a special election to fill a vacancy (if authorized by law to order such an election). (Sec. 201.052).  If an election is ordered between the 35th day before election day and this date, see Section 201.054(a)(2) for possible candidate filing deadline dates.

First day of period during which notice of election must be published if method of giving notice is not specified by a law outside the Election Code, and publication is the method of giving notice is selected.  (Sec. 4.003(a)(1)). 

NOTE:     If you are having a tax rollback election on the May 11, 2013 date and you have questions regarding the 30-day deadline under Section 3.005, please contact the Secretary of State’s office for further direction.

Friday, April 12, 2013 (29th day before election day)

Recommended last day for early voting clerk to order supplemental and registration correction lists, if applicable, or order revised original list from the voter registrar for early voting by personal appearance.  (Secs. 18.001, 18.003).

Saturday, April 13, 2013 (28th day before election day; 3rd day after the 31st day special election filing deadline)

5:00 p.m. -      Last day for a candidate to withdraw in an election for which the filing deadline is the 31st day before election dayIf a candidate withdraws or is declared ineligible by this date, his or her name is omitted from the ballot. (Secs. 145.092(a) and 145.094(a)(2)).  Please note this deadline is not extended under Section 1.006. (Sec. 145.092(e)).

NEW LAW:  The new general rule for withdrawal deadlines for city, school district, and other local elections is 5:00 p.m. of the third day after the filing deadline, pursuant to Section 145.094, as amended.  House Bill 2817, Senate Bill 100 (2011).  Note: This deadline conflicts with Section 145.096 (deceased or ineligible candidate’s name to appear on ballot), which was not amended in 2011 to be consistent with the new law.  We view the new law as prevailing.

Monday, April 22, 2013 (19th day before election day)

Last day to post notice of election on bulletin board used for posting notices of meetings of governing body.  (extended deadline)  (Secs. 1.006, 4.003(b)).

Last day to post notice of election in each election precinct if method of giving notice is not specified by a law outside the Election Code and notice is given by this method in lieu of publication.  (extended deadline)  (Secs. 1.006, 4.003(a)(2)).  Cities and School Districts must publish their notice in the newspaper.

Monday, April 22, 2013 - Friday, May 3, 2013 (19th day before election day - 8th day before election day)

A person submitting an FPCA during this period who is not permanently registered to vote is not entitled to receive a ballot for any non-federal election held on May 11, 2013.  See entry below under Friday, April 26, 2013 for timeliness of an FPCA received without a postmark.  (extended deadline) (Sec. 101.052).

NOTE:     Be sure to check the list of registered voters for permanent registration status.  Also, state law authorizes an FPCA to also serve as an application for permanent registration; therefore, the person might be permanently-registered based on a prior FPCA.  Even if the FPCA arrives too late for a particular election, the early voting clerk will still need to forward the original FPCA to the county voter registrar, after making a copy for your early voting clerk’s use (mailing ballots, etc.) and records unless the voter marked “indefinitely away” (older form) or away without intent to return (newer form) in which case, it will not serve as a permanent registration.  (Sec. 101.055; 1 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 81.40).

Overseas (non-military) voters marking the FPCA as “indefinitely away” (older form) or away without intent to return (newer form) receive a federal ballot only regardless of the date filed.  (See Chapter 114).  In a local (non-federal) election, this means there is no ballot to send the voter. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 (18th day before election day)

Last day to publish notice of the public Logic and Accuracy (L&A) Test of a voting system that uses direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines (or an electronic voting system which is subject to L&A testing under advisories issued by the Secretary of State) used in early voting, if test will be held on April 26, 2013.  The last date to perform this test is Friday, April 26, 2013.  Notice of the public L&A Test must be published at least 48 hours before the test begins.  (Secs. 129.001, 129.023).

Friday, April 26, 2013 (15th day before election day)

Last day to conduct public L&A Test of a voting system that uses DRE voting machines (or an electronic voting system which is subject to L&A testing under advisories issued by the Secretary of State) used in early voting.   We highly recommend that this test is done on an earlier date to allow time for corrections to programming, if necessary.  (See Note 9 prior to Calendar of Events.)  Per Section 129.023, the test shall be conducted not later than 48 hours before voting begins on such voting systems, assuming that the voting system will first be used for early voting in person.

If an FPCA is received by this date without a postmark to prove mailing date, the early voting clerk will accept the FPCA and mail the applicant a full ballot even if the applicant is not a permanently registered voter but meets the requirements under Title 2 of the Election Code. (Sec. 101.052). 

Last day to notify election judges of duty to hold election (Writ of Election).  Notice must be given by the 15th day before the election or the 7th day after the day the election is ordered, whichever is later.  The Writ of Election must be given to each presiding judge and include:

  1. The judge’s duty to hold the election;
  2. The type and date of election;
  3. The polling place location at which the judge will serve;
  4. The polling place hours; and
  5. The maximum number of clerks the judge may appoint. (Sec. 4.007).

Monday, April 29, 2013 (12th day before election day)

First day to vote early in person. (Sec. 85.001(e)).

If a defective application to vote early by mail is received on or before this date, the early voting clerk must mail the applicant a new application with explanation of defects and instructions for submitting the new application.  For defective applications received after this date and before the end of early voting by personal appearance, the early voting clerk must mail only the notice of defect and a statement that the voter is not entitled to vote early by mail unless he or she submits a sufficient application by the deadline.  (Sec. 86.008).

Political subdivisions other than cities and counties:  Early voting in person must be conducted for at least eight (8) hours each weekday that is not a legal state holiday unless the political subdivision has fewer than 1,000 registered voters, in which case early voting in person must be conducted for at least three (3) hours per day.  (Sec. 85.005).

Cities and counties:  Early voting in person must be conducted on the weekdays of the early voting period and during the hours that the county clerk's or city secretary's main business office is regularly open for business.  (Sec. 85.005).  However, because cities and counties must have office hours for election-related business at least three hours every business day for this type of election (see note at 50th day entry, Friday, March 22, 2013), we harmonize these requirements with the result that, if a city or county is not regularly open for business on one or more week days, on those “closed” days  a city or a county must conduct early voting for at least three (3) hours a day at the main early voting location (except for a city’s two 12-hour days, when it must be open for the full 12 hours).

Joint elections:  If conducting early voting by personal appearance jointly, we recommend a unified schedule covering all requirements; i.e., no entity’s requirements should be neglected or subtracted as a result of a joint agreement.

Note for Cities: Cities must choose two weekdays to be open for 12 hours during the regular early voting period.  The city council must choose the two weekdays. (Sec. 85.005(d)).

Note to Independent School Districts:  Despite the change in state law that allows an ISD to be closed on school holidays during the mandatory office hours period, you are required to be open during the entire early voting period except on legal state and national holidays.  (See listing under Sec. 1.006 in BI Company's Texas Election Laws 2012-2013 Edition).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 (10th day before election day)

Last day of period during which notice of election must be published if method of giving notice is not specified by a law outside the Election Code and this method of giving notice is selected. (Sec. 4.003(a)(1)).

Last day to mail a copy of the notice of election to each registered voter in the county if method of giving notice is not specified by a law outside the Election Code and this method of giving notice is selected. (Sec. 4.003(a)(3)).

Cities and Counties Notice Requirement: Last day to post notice on bulletin board used for posting notice of city council or commissioners court, if early voting will be conducted on Saturday, May 4, 2013.  (Sec. 85.007).  Notice must be posted at least 72 hours before early voting begins on a Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013 (9th day before election day)

Cities and Counties Notice Requirement: Last day to post notice on bulletin board used for posting notice of city council or commissioners court, if early voting will be conducted on Sunday, May 5, 2013.  (Sec. 85.007).  Notice must be posted at least 72 hours before early voting begins on a Saturday or Sunday.

A voter who becomes sick or disabled on or after this date may vote a late ballot if the sickness or disability prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place without the likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring his or her health. (Sec. 102.001).

Friday, May 3, 2013 (8th day before election day)

Last day to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail or an FPCA from a registered voter.  (Sec. 84.007).*

*Since the 7th day before election day falls on Saturday, May 4, 2013, the deadline is moved to the first preceding regular business day. (Sec. 84.007(c)).

NEW LAW:   This is the first day that counties with a population of 100,000 or more or local political subdivisions conducting an election jointly with such a county may convene their early voting ballot board and begin processing and qualifying mail ballots; however, the mail ballots may not be counted until (i) the polls open on election day, or (ii) in an election conducted by an authority of a county with a population of 100,000 or more or conducted jointly with such a county, the end of the period for early voting in person.  (Sec. 87.0241).  The early voting clerk shall continuously post notice for 24 hours preceding each delivery of voting materials that is to be made before the time for opening the polls on election day.  (Sec. 87.0222). This law is no longer applicable to the uniform election date in May of even-numbered years (like 2012) since there are no joint elections with counties.  However, in May of an odd-numbered year (like 2013) this rule is back in effect.

Monday, May 6, 2013 (5th day before election day)

A voter who has a death in the immediate family (related within 2nd degree by consanguinity or affinity) that occurs on or after this day may vote a late ballot starting Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (the day after early voting in person ends).  (Sec. 103.001).

Last day to publish notice of the public L&A Test of a voting system that uses DRE voting machines (or an electronic voting system which is subject to L&A testing under advisories issued by the Secretary of State) used for the first time on election day, if test will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2013.  The last date to perform this test is Thursday, May 9, 2013.  Notice of the public L&A Test must be published at least 48 hours before the test begins.  (Secs. 129.001, 129.023).

Last day to publish notice of the date, hour, and place of the first public test for automatic tabulating equipment, 48 hours before the date of the test, if the test will be conducted on Thursday, May 9, 2013.  (Sec. 127.096).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 (4th day before election day)

Last day to vote early by personal appearance. (Sec. 85.001(e)).

5:00 p.m. -      Requests for election inspectors for Saturday, May 11, 2013 elections must be received by the Secretary of State on or before this date.  (Sec. 34.001).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (day after early voting in person ends)

First day to submit an application for and vote a late ballot because of a death in the immediate family that occurred on or after Monday, May 6, 2013, and will require absence from the county on election day. (Secs. 103.001, 103.003(b)).

First day to submit an application for and vote a late ballot because of sickness or disability that arose on or after Thursday, May 2, 2013. (Secs. 102.001, 102.003).

Political subdivisions may convene the early voting ballot board for the purpose of processing and qualifying mail ballots or to receive ballots voted early in person after the end of the period for early voting in person and before the polls open on election day, but may not begin counting the ballots until election day.  The early voting clerk shall continuously post notice for 24 hours preceding each delivery of voting materials that is to be made before the time for opening the polls on election day. (Secs. 87.0221, 87.023, 87.024, 87.0241).  For an exception allowing earlier counting by political subdivisions conducting a joint election with counties having a population of 100,000 or more, see entry at Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013 (2nd day before election day)

Last day to conduct public L&A Test of a voting system that uses DRE voting machines (or an electronic voting system which is subject to L&A testing under advisories issued by the Secretary of State) used in early voting.   We highly recommend that this test is done on an earlier date to allow time for corrections to programming, if necessary.  (See Note 9 prior to Calendar of Events.)  Per Section 129.023, the test shall be conducted not later than 48 hours before voting begins on such voting systems, assuming that the voting system will first be used on election day and was not previously used for or tested before early voting in person.

Last day to conduct the first public test for automatic tabulating equipment, 48 hours before tabulating begins.  (Sec. 127.093).  We highly recommend that this test is done on an earlier date to allow time for corrections to programming, if necessary.  (See Note 9 prior to Calendar of Events.)

Friday, May 10, 2013 (day before election day)

Last day to submit an application for and vote a late ballot by personal appearance due to death in immediate family. (Sec. 103.003(b)).

Last day to deliver precinct early voting lists to election judges. (Sec. 87.122).

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - Election Day

7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Polls open. (Sec. 41.031).
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Voter registrar's office is open. (Sec. 12.004(c)).
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Early voting clerk's office is open for early voting activities. (Sec. 83.011).
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Sick and disabled persons may vote at the main early voting polling place if electronic voting systems are used at regular polling place(s) on election day and the voter has a sickness or condition that prevents the voter from voting in the regular manner without personal assistance or likelihood of injury. (Sec. 104.003).
5:00 p.m. - Deadline for receiving applications for late ballots to be voted by persons who became sick or disabled on or after Thursday, May 2, 2013. (Sec. 102.003(b)).
7:00 p.m. - Deadline for receiving early voting ballots by mail and late ballots cast by voters who became sick or disabled on or after Thursday, May 2, 2013. (Secs. 86.007(a), 102.006(c)).

Note on Manual Examination of Ballots Before Processing on Automatic Counting Equipment:  The central counting station manager shall direct the manual examination of all electronic voting system ballots to ascertain whether the ballots can be processed in the usual manner or if the ballots need to be duplicated to clearly reflect the voter’s intent. (Sec. 127.125).

Note on Receipt of Mail Ballots:  All marked early voting ballots sent by mail from inside the United States must arrive before the time the polls are required to close on election day.  If the early voting clerk cannot determine whether a ballot arrived before the deadline, the ballot is considered to have arrived at the time the place at which the carrier envelopes are deposited was last inspected for removal of returned ballots. (Sec. 86.007(a)).  The early voting clerk must check the mailbox for early voting mail ballots at least once after the time for regular mail delivery. (Sec. 86.007(b)).  A marked ballot that is not timely returned may not be counted unless the ballot may be counted late, pursuant to Section 86.007(d), which applies to ballots mailed from outside of the United States.

Note on Delivery of Early Voting by Personal Appearance and Mail Ballots:  The early voting clerk delivers the voted ballots, the key to the double-locked ballot box, etc., to the early voting ballot board at the time or times specified by the presiding judge of the early voting ballot board, during the hours the polls are open or as soon after the polls close as practicable.  (Sec. 87.022).  The custodian of the key to the second lock of the double-locked early voting ballot box delivers his or her key to the presiding judge of the early voting ballot board on request of the presiding judge. (Secs. 85.032(d) and 87.025).  The custodian is the sheriff for county elections; the chief of police or city marshal for city elections; and the constable of the justice precinct in which the political subdivision’s main office is located (or the sheriff, if there is no constable), for other political subdivision elections. (Sec. 66.060).

Note on Delivery of Early Voting Ballots to Early Voting Ballot Board Before Election Day: Early voting ballots may be delivered to the early voting ballot board at any time after early voting by personal appearance ends.  Mail ballots may be qualified and processed (signatures verified, carrier envelopes opened, and the secrecy envelope containing the ballot placed in a secure location), but they may not be counted until election day.  Exception:  counties with a population of 100,000 or more or entities contracting or having joint elections with counties with a population of 100,000 or more may process the ballots (i.e., qualify, and accept or reject, but not count) as early as the 8th day before election day; in such an election, votes may be counted no earlier than the end of the period for early voting by personal appearance; the results may not be released until the polls close on election day.  (Secs. 87.023, 87.024, 87.0221, 87.0222, 87.0241(b), 87.042).  If ballots are to be delivered before election day, the early voting clerk must post notice at least 24 hours before each delivery at the main early voting polling place.  (Secs. 87.023(b), 87.024(b), 87.0221(b)).

The second test of automatic tabulating equipment used for counting ballots at a central counting station must be conducted immediately before the counting of ballots with equipment begins.  The third test must be conducted immediately after the counting is completed. (Secs. 127.093, 127.097 & 127.098).

Precinct election returns are delivered to the appropriate authorities after completion. (Sec. 66.053(a)).

Monday, May 13, 2013 (2nd day and 1st business day after election day)

The general custodian of election records must deliver the ballot box(es) or transfer case(s) containing the provisional ballots, along with the Summary of Provisional Ballots and the List of Provisional Voters to the county voter registrar, by this day.  The general custodian of election records makes this delivery to the voter registrar during the voter registrar office’s regular business hours.

Note for Political Subdivisions Located in More than One County: Your political subdivision will have to make delivery of the provisional ballots and forms to the voter registrar in each county in which your political subdivision is located. (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

If the voter registrar wants to take possession of the provisional ballots and forms on election night (Saturday, May 11, 2013), the voter registrar must inform the custodian of the election records and post a Notice of Election Night Transfer no later than 24 hours before election day.  However, under this type of delivery, the county voter registrar must go to the custodian of election records office and pick up the provisional ballots and forms.  Also, note that the voter registrar may take possession of provisional ballots prior to election night if ballots are kept separated and may be provided without unlawful entry into the ballot box. (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 (3rd day after election day)

The first possible day to conduct official local canvass of returns by governing authority of the political subdivision.  HOWEVER, the canvass may not be conducted until the ballot board has verified and counted all provisional ballots, if a provisional ballot has been cast in the election, AND counted all timely received ballots cast from addresses outside the United States (see entry at May 17, 2013, sixth day after election day), if a ballot by mail was provided to a person outside of the United States. (Sec. 67.003).  Notice of canvass must be posted at least 72 hours continuously before the canvass is conducted.

For districts using electronic voting systems, last day to begin manual recount of ballots in three precincts or one percent of precincts, whichever is greater, unless requirement has been waived or unless the voting system uses DRE voting machines. (Sec. 127.201(a), (g)).  Results of manual count must be mailed to Secretary of State not later than the 3rd day after the manual count is completed. (Sec. 127.201(e)).

NEW LAW:   House Bill 2817 (2011) added the exception that no partial manual count needs to be done of ballots cast on DRE voting machines. (Sec. 127.201(g)).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 (3rd business day after election day)

Deadline for Voter Registrar to complete the review of provisional ballots. (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Deadline for all political subdivisions to retrieve provisional ballots. (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Thursday, May 16, 2013 (5th day after election day)

Last day to receive carrier envelopes placed in the mail by 7:00 p.m. on election day, May 11, 2013, from voters who are voting outside the United States. (Sec. 86.007(d)(3)).

Friday, May 17, 2013 (6th day after election day)

Last day for early voting ballot board to convene to qualify and count any late ballots that were submitted from outside the United States and received by Thursday, May 16, 2013. (Sec. 87.125).

Recommended last day for early voting ballot board to convene to qualify and count any provisional ballots that have been reviewed by the voter registrar.  (Actual deadline to meet to review and count provisional ballots is the 7th day after election day, Saturday, May 18, 2013. (Sec. 65.051(a)). Please note this deadline is not extended under Section 1.006. (Sec. 65.051(c)).

First day that newly-elected officers of Type A general law city may qualify and assume duties of office.

Type A City Council members may take office anytime following the canvass.  (Section 22.006 of the Local Government Code Section states that a newly-elected municipal officer may exercise the duties of office beginning on the fifth day after the date of the election, excluding Sundays.  Section 22.036 of the Local Government Code further requires that the newly-elected governing body of the municipality "meet at the usual meeting place and shall be installed.")

Saturday, May 18, 2013 (7th day after election day)

Last day for early voting ballot board to convene to qualify and count any provisional ballots that have been reviewed by the voter registrar. (Sec. 65.051(a)). Please note this deadline is not extended under Section 1.006. (Sec. 65.051(c)).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 (10th day after election day)

Last day for the presiding judge of the early voting ballot board to mail notices of rejected mail ballots to voters. (Sec. 87.0431).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 (11th day after election day)

Last day for official canvass of returns by governing authority of political subdivision. (Sec. 67.003).

Monday, June 3, 2013 (23rd day after election day, extended from 10th day after canvass)

Last day for presiding judge of the early voting ballot board to mail notices of outcome of provisional ballots to voters.  (extended deadline)  (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Last day to complete manual count. (extended deadline)  (Sec. 127.201(a)).

Monday, June 10, 2013 (30th day after election day)

Last day to file electronic precinct-by-precinct returns with Secretary of State. (Sec. 67.017).

Thursday, June 20, 2013 (40th day after election day)

Last day of the period for mandatory office hours. See entry for Friday, March 22, 2013. (Sec. 31.122).

Thursday, July 11, 2013 (61st day after election day)

First day that ballot box(es) may be unlocked and its voted ballots be transferred to another secure container for the remainder of the preservation period.  (Sec. 66.058).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 (day after 6 months following election)

Contents of ballot box(es) may be destroyed if no contest or criminal investigation has arisen (Secs. 1.013 & 66.058), and if no open records request has been filed (Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-505 (1988)).  NEW LAW:  Generally, non-federal election records must be preserved for 6 months (instead of 22 months) from election day.  (Sec. 66.058, House Bill 2817 (2011)). 

Notable exceptions:

Election results must be permanently maintained in the election register. (Sec. 67.006).

We recommend that the early voting clerk maintain an FPCA as an election record until at least 6 months after a non-federal election in which the FPCA generated a ballot.  The voter registrar should maintain the original FPCA (except those marked indefinitely away, which are not forwarded to the registrar) for the preservation period for voter registration applications.

Note on electronic voting systems:  See new Texas Administrative Code rules and advisories on our website for preservation procedures for electronic voting systems.

Note on Retention of Candidate Applications: Candidate applications must be retained by the governing body for two years after date of election.  (Sec. 141.036).

Permanent Records

Election results must be permanently-maintained in the election register.  (Sec. 67.006). 

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