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Voter Information

Election Advisory No. 2013-17

May 10, 2014 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.

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

On June 25, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, No. 12-96, 2013 WL 3184629 (U.S.) (U.S. Jun. 25, 2013).  That decision holds that Section 4 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional and its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.  Both the Attorney General of the United States and the Texas Attorney General have indicated that Shelby takes effect immediately. Accordingly, unless and until there is new law from the United States Congress signed by the President or other court order, the Texas Attorney General has advised the Secretary of State that it is no longer required to submit voting changes to the DOJ for preclearance.  We suggest that Texas counties or other Texas political subdivision discuss the effect of Shelby and the continuing applicability of other provisions of the Voting Rights Act with their legal counsel.

3. Note on Statutory References

Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Texas Election Code.  The county election officer may refer to 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 may refer to 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 May Uniform Date (Odd-Numbered Years)

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)).  Thus, for May 9, 2015 (odd-numbered year) we return to the general rules:  counties are authorized to hold an election ordered by county authority in May 2015; and a county elections administrator may not refuse to provide election services by contract in May 2013.

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.

5. 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 entering into joint election agreements.

6. 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 (PDF).

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)).

Senate Bill 910 (2013) amended Section 144.005 to provide a “first day to file” for political subdivisions that do not have a statutory first day to file. An application may not be filed earlier than the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline, even in the case of a conflicting statute outside of the Election Code. (Sec. 144.005, Senate Bill 910 (2013)).

7. Note on Notice of Elections

Political subdivisions other than cities and schools may have specific statutory notice requirements.  In the absence of specific statutory requirements, such political subdivisions must post a notice on or before the 21st day before the election. (Sec. 4.003(b)).  For the Saturday, May 10, 2014 election, this notice must be posted on or before Tuesday, April 22, 2014.*  The general rule is that notice must be given in one of the following manners:

  1. By posting a notice in each election precinct in which the election is to be held on or before Tuesday, April 22, 2014.* (Secs. 1.006, 4.003(a)(2)).*

  2. By publishing the notice at least once between the 30th day and the 10th day before the election, Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (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, April 30, 2014. (Sec. 4.003(a)(3)).

    *Since the 21st day before the election falls on a Saturday, the deadline is extended to the next business day after Monday, April 21, 2014, San Jacinto Day.

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.  (Sec. 4.003).

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).  They may also use additional forms of giving notice. (Sec. 4.003(c)).

Note for Home Rule Charter Cities: Home-rule Cities MUST also give notice as provided in their charters. (Sec. 4.003(d)).

Note for Cities: Cities must choose two weekdays for the main early voting polling place 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 Counties and Cities:   In elections where the county clerk or city secretary is the early voting clerk, notice of any voting conducted on a Saturday and Sunday must be posted at least 72 hours prior to the first hour of such voting. (Sec. 85.007(b), (c)).

Note for All Political Subdivisions, Except Counties & Cities: Voting on ANY Saturday or Sunday must be included in the order and notice of election. The order and notice must include the dates and hours of Saturday or Sunday voting. (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 11, 2014. (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).

8. 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 30, 2013 (30th day before Wednesday, January 29, 2014)

Deadline to 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:  Senate Bill 910 (2013) amended § 144.005 to provide a “first day to file” for other political subdivisions.  An application may not be filed earlier than the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline.   See also entry at Friday, February 28, 2014.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 (101st day before election day, 30th day before Friday, February 28, 2014)

First day to file an application for a place on the ballot. (Secs. 144.005 and 143.007 Election Code, Secs. 11.055 and 130.082(g) Educ. Code.) NEW LAW: Senate Bill 910 amended § 144.005 to provide a “first day to file” for other political subdivisions. An application may not be filed earlier than the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline, even in the case of a conflicting statute outside of the Election Code.

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 10, 2014 (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 25, 2014 (74th day before election day, 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, February 28, 2014.  (Sec. 145.094(a)(1)).

Friday, February 28, 2014 (71st day before election day)

5:00 p.m. - Deadline to file an application for a place on the ballot, except as otherwise provided by the Election Code. (Secs. 1.006, 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).

Note:  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).  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 10, 2014, 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 (recommended for counties and cities, but required 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 city office with a four year term by the deadline, the deadline is extended to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 14, 2014 (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 3, 2014.  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 3, 2014.  (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. (Subchapter A, Chapter 51)

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. (Secs. 32.032, 32.033) 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 25, 2014. (Sec. 32.009(e)). If the notices are combined, both must be delivered by the date required in the earlier notice.

Recommended date to appoint the central counting station personnel, if applicable (Secs. 127.002, 127.003, 127.004, and 127.005),

Recommended date 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). 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 1, 2014 (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 10, 2014). Please note that the Election Code requires the election to be ordered as soon as practicable after the vacancy occurs. (Sec. 201.051).

NOTE: Section 201.054 (as amended by Senate Bill 910 (2013)) provides for two 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); and (2) after the 70th day but on or before the 57th day before election day (45th day deadline).  This is the first of the two 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 a Saturday, as this is not the last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy for this uniform election date.

First day to post notice of ballot position drawing if drawing is to be conducted on Monday, March 3, 2014.  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 3, 2014.  (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)).

Monday, March 3, 2014 (3rd day after the filing deadline, 68th day before election day)

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, February 28, 2014 and a write-in deadline of Friday, February 28, 2014.  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.  See Section 2.053 See cancellation outline for more details.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (5th day after the filing deadline, 66th 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 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 fifth day after the regular filing deadline, pursuant to Section 145.092, as amended.  Senate Bill 904 (2013).  In the 2013 session, Section 145.096(a) (deceased or ineligible candidate's name to appear on ballot) was amended by Senate Bill 910 to provide a general rule of the “third day” after the filing deadline for a declaration of ineligibility to result in removing a name from the ballot.  The intent was to be consistent with the rules at Section 145.092 (deadline to withdraw) and 145.094 (withdrawn, deceased, or ineligible candidate's name omitted from ballot).  In the same session, as noted above, Section 145.092 was amended by Senate Bill 904 to provide for the “fifth day” after the deadline.  Section 145.092(a).  Section 145.094(a) incorporates the Section 145.092 deadline by reference.  To give effect to the overall intent for the sections to be consistent, we view the “fifth day” rule at Sections 145.092(a) and 145.094 as prevailing.

Monday, March 10, 2014 (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 after the 70th day before election day, Saturday, March 1, 2014. (Sec. 201.054). This deadline is extended to the next regular business day because the 62nd day before election day falls on Sunday, March 9, 2014. (Sec. 1.006).) (For new law about write-in declaration deadline, see entry at Friday, February 28, 2014.  For more details about Section 201.054 and the three possible special election deadlines, see entry at Saturday, March 1, 2014.)

NEW LAW: Section 201.054, as amended by Senate Bill 910 (2013), provides that candidate’s application for placement on the ballot in a special election must be filed by 5:00pm on the 62nd day before the election if election day is on or after the 70th day after the election is ordered. If election day is on or after the 57th day but prior to the 70th day after the election is ordered, the application for placement on the ballot must be filed by 5:00pm on the 45th day before election day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (60th day before election day)

First day to accept regular applications for early voting ballots by mail for any May 10, 2014 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, 2014 are valid until December 31, 2014 (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).

Friday, March 14, 2014 (57th day before election day)

5:00 p.m. – Extended filing deadline in cities with four-year terms of office, when no candidate files for a particular office by the regular deadline.  (Sec. 143.008).  (See entry at Friday, February 28, 2014.)

Last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy (if authorized to fill vacancies by special election).  The filing deadline for such an election is the 45th day before election day, Wednesday, March 26, 2014).

NOTE:  Section 201.054 (as amended by Senate Bill 910 (2013)) provides for two 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); and (2) after the 70th day but on or before the 57th day before election day (45th day deadline).  This is the second of the two possible ordering times.  Although Section 201.052 (as amended by SB 910, (2013)) states that the last day to order a special election is the 45th day after election day, as a practical matter, the last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy must instead be the 57th day before election day.  This is because Section 201.054 (as amended) does not provide for a candidate filing deadline in the event that a special election is ordered after the 57th day before election day.  Thus, we read Sections 201.052 (as amended) and 201.054 (as amended) together, and conclude that the last day to order a special election is the 57th day before election day and NOT the 45th day before election day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 (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 20, 2014 (51st day before election day, 20th day after February 28, 2014)

Last day to notify election judges of their appointment if they were appointed, as recommended, by Friday, February 28, 2014. (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. (Sec. 32.009(a)). 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. (Sec. 32.009(e)). 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 25, 2014 (15th day before election day).  (Sec. 4.007).

Friday, March 21, 2014 - Thursday, June 19, 2014 (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 for Special Elections: 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 26, 2014 (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).

5:00pm - 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 after the 70th day before election day but on or before the 57th day before election day, Friday, March 14, 2014. (Sec. 201.054).

NEW LAW:   Section 201.054 (as amended by Senate Bill 910 (2011)) provides for two possible time frames in which to order a special election to be held on the May uniform date, each triggering a different filing deadline. These time frames are: (1) on or before the 70th day before election day (62nd day filing deadline); and (2) after the 70th day but on or before the 57th day before election day (45th day filing deadline). Today’s entry relates to the second of the two possible ordering time frames.

See entry under March 14, 2014 (57th day before election day) for information pertaining to the last day to order a special election to fill a vacancy.

Monday, April 2, 2014 (38th day before election day; 5th day after 45th day filing deadline)

5:00pm - Last date for a candidate to withdraw in an election for which the filing deadline is the 45th 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(a) and 145.094(a)(3)).

NEW LAW: The new general rule for withdrawal deadlines for city, school district, and other local elections is 5:00 p.m. of the fifth day after the regular filing deadline, pursuant to Section 145.092(a), as amended by Senate Bill 904 (2013).

Thursday, April 10, 2014 (30th day before election day)

Last day to register to vote for the Saturday, May 10, 2014 election. (Sec. 13.143).

NOTE: An FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) also serves as an application for permanent registration under Texas law unless the voter marked “outside the U.S. indefinitely” (2005 form) or “do not intend to return” (2011 form). The early voting clerk should make a copy (for mailing ballots, keeping records, etc.), then should forward the original to the county voter registrar, as soon as practicable. (Sec. 101.006; 1 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 81.40(a), (c)(2)).

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

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)).  The notice for elections ordered by a commissioners court or by an authority of a city or school district, must be given by publication in a newspaper in addition to any other method specified. (4.003(c) and (d).

Friday, April 11, 2014 (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 of registered voters from the voter registrar for early voting by personal appearance.  (Secs. 18.001, 18.003).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 (18th 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)). This deadline is extended by Section 1.006, as the 21st day before election day falls on Saturday, April 19th, and Monday, April 21st, San Jacinto Day, is a legal state holiday).

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. (This deadline is extended by Section 1.006, as the 21st day before election day falls on Saturday, April 19th, and Monday, April 21st, San Jacinto Day, is a legal state holiday).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - Friday, May 2, 2014 (17th day before election day - 8th day before election day)

A person submitting a postmarked FPCA after the 20th day before election day who is not permanently registered to vote is not entitled to receive a ballot for any non-federal election held on May 10, 2014.  See entry below under Friday, April 25, 2014 for timeliness of an FPCA received without a postmark.  (extended deadline) (Sec. 101.052).   (Note:  Deadline of the 20th day before election day for full ballot is extended to Tuesday, April 22, 2014, the first business day after Monday, April 21, 2014, San Jacinto Day)

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 “outside the U.S. indefinitely” (2005 form) or “do not intend to return” (2011 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 outside the U.S. indefinitely” (2005 form) or “do not intend to return” (2011 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 (17th 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 25, 2014.  The last date to perform this test is Friday, April 25, 2014.  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 25, 2014 (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 28, 2014 (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, which is Thursday, May 1, 2014.  (Sec. 86.008, 84.007(c)).

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 before election entry, Friday, March 21, 2014), 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 for the main early voting polling location 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, April 30, 2014 (10th day before election day; day before the last day to apply for a ballot by mail)

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 3, 2014.  (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).

Thursday, May 1, 2014 (9th day before election day)

Last day to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail. (Sec. 84.007(c)).

NEW LAW:   Section 84.007, as amended by Senate Bill 910 (2013), changed the deadline for applications for ballots by mail. Applications for ballots by mail must be received by the early voting clerk on the ninth day before election day unless that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal state or national holiday, in which case the last day is the first preceding regular business day. NOTE:  This new deadline does not apply to FPCA’s.  See entry at May 2, 2014.

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 4, 2014.  (Sec. 85.007(c)).  Notice must be posted at least 72 hours before early voting begins on a Saturday or Sunday.

Friday, May 2, 2014 (8th day before election day)

Last day to receive an FPCA from a registered voter. (Sec. 101.052(g)).  This deadline is pushed back to the preceding regular business day, which is today, because the 7th day before the election falls on Saturday, May 3, 2014. (Sec. 84.007(c), 101.002).)

Note: Section 101.052(b) and (g) contain conflicting deadlines for the submission of a timely FPCA. Subsection (g) provides that an FPCA is timely if submitted on or before the 7th day before election day. We view subsection (g) as prevailing.

Note:  In even-numbered years, since there are no joint elections held with counties, no entities may begin to process and count ballots cast by mail on this date, but rather must wait until May 7, 2014.   See entry for that date for further information.

Monday, May 5, 2014 (5th day before election day; day before last day of early voting)

A voter is eligible to vote a late ballot if they will be out of the county on election day due to a death in the immediate family (related within 2nd degree by consanguinity or affinity) that occurs on or after this day.  The voter may submit the application for the late ballot starting Wednesday, May 7, 2014 (the day after early voting in person ends). (Secs. 103.001, 103.003(b)).

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 Wednesday, May 7, 2014.  Notice of the public L&A Test must be published at least 48 hours before the test begins.  (Secs. 129.001, 129.023).

NOTE: The public L&A test for a voting system must be conducted at least 48 hours before voting is conducted using the voting system. Therefore, the public test can be conducted no later than 7 a.m. on Thursday, May 8, 2014.  Because this is before the regular business hours of many entities, the last day by which the test could be conducted is Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Last day for the custodian of the automatic tabulating equipment 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 8, 2014.  (Sec. 127.096).

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 (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 10, 2014 elections must be received by the Secretary of State on or before this date.  (Sec. 34.001).

Early voting clerk must post notice of delivery of materials to the early voting ballot board if materials are to be delivered to the board on May 7, 2014.  Notice must be posted continuously for 24 hours preceding each delivery to the board. (Secs. 87.0221, 87.023, 87.024, 87.0241).

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 (5th day before election day; 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 5, 2014, 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 Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (Secs. 102.001, 102.003).

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.

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.

NOTE:  The ballot board 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).  This is unlike in odd-numbered years when entities conducting a joint election with a county of 100,000 or more may begin to process and count ballots on the 8th day before election day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 (2nd day before election day)

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 9, 2014 (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.  The application must be submitted by the close of business on this day. (Sec. 103.003(b)).

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

Saturday, May 10, 2014 – (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 Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  (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 Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  (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.  Note that this is unlike in odd-numbered years when entities conducting a joint election with a county of 100,000 or more may begin to process and count ballots on the 8th day before election day.

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 12, 2014 (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. (Secs. 65.052, 65.053; 1 T.A.C. Secs. 81.172 – 81.174 & 81.176).

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 10, 2014), 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.

NOTE:  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. The general custodian of election records (or the early voting clerk, if applicable) must post a Notice of Delivery of Provisional Ballots at least 24 hours before delivery will occur. (1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 (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 16, 2014, 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.

If a political subdivision was able to CANCEL its election, this is the first day its elected officials can take the oath of office and be issued a certificate of election.  (Secs. 2.053(e), 67.003 & 67.016).  Note:  This does not apply to officers of a Type A general law city.  See entry on Friday, May 16, 2014.

Last day to begin the partial manual count for districts using electronic voting systems. This is the 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)). No partial manual count needs to be done of ballots cast on DRE voting machines. (Sec. 127.201(g)).

Thursday, May 15, 2014 (5th day after election day)

Last day to receive carrier envelopes placed in the mail by 7:00 p.m. on election day, May 10, 2014, from voters who are voting outside the United States. (Sec. 86.007(d)(3)).

Friday, May 16, 2014 (6th day after election day)

Deadline for provisional voter to (1) present acceptable identification to county voter registrar,  (2) execute an affidavit relating to natural disaster or religious objection in presence of county, or (3) apply for and receive a disability exemption with the voter registrar.  (Secs. 65.054(b) & 65.0541(a)).

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

Deadline for custodian of election records or presiding judge of the early voting ballot board to retrieve provisional ballots from county voter registrar.  (1 T.A.C. §§ 81.172 – 81.174 & 81.176).

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 15, 2014. (Sec. 87.125).

Recommended 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.  However, as that day falls on Saturday, May 17, 2014, and is not extended to the next business day, as a practical matter many early voting ballot boards will instead meet today, Friday, May 16, 2014.) (Sec. 65.051(a)).

First day that newly-elected officers of Type A general law city may qualify and assume duties of office (per Sec. 22.006, Local Government Code), but see NOTE, below.

NOTE:  Council members may take office anytime following the canvass.  Section 22.006 of the Texas Local Government Code states that a newly-elected municipal officer of a Type A city may exercise the duties of office beginning on the fifth day after the date of the election, excluding Sundays.  However, no newly elected official may qualify for office before the official canvass of the election has been conducted (or would have been conducted, in the event of a cancelled election).  Section 22.036 of the Texas 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 17, 2014 (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.  (Secs. 65.051(a)).  Please note this deadline is not extended under Section 1.006.  (Sec. 65.051(c)).  See recommendation under May 16, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 (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 21, 2014 (11th day after election day)

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

Monday, June 2, 2014 (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.  (The statutory deadline falls on Saturday, May 31, 2014, and is extended to this day under Section 1.006.)  (1.006, 1 Tex. Admin Code Secs. 81.172 – 81.174).

Last day to complete the partial manual count. (Sec. 127.201(a)). This deadline is extended to the next regular business day, which is this day, because the 21st day after election day falls on Saturday, May 31, 2014. (Sec. 1.006).)

Monday, June 9, 2014 (30th day after election day)

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

Thursday, June 19, 2014 (40th day after election day)

Last day of the period for mandatory office hours. See entry for Friday, March 21, 2014. (Sec. 31.122).

Thursday, July 10, 2014 (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 11, 2014 (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)).  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:

Permanent Records: 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).