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Election Advisory No. 2020-01

To: County Elections Officers (County Clerks/Elections Administrators/Tax Assessors-Collectors)
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Keith Ingram's signature
Date: January 3, 2020
RE: Instructions and Deadlines for Mailing/Emailing Ballots Under the Federal “MOVE Act” for Overseas Voters

Pursuant to the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (“MOVE”) Act, the blank official ballot must be mailed or emailed to any voter who submits a Federal Postcard Application (“FPCA”). All FPCAs submitted on or after January 1, 2020 are effective for the 2020 primaries and general election.

Section 84.007, Texas Election Code, provides that if an ABBM is faxed or emailed or if an FPCA is faxed, then the applicant must submit the original application by mail to the early voting clerk so that the early voting clerk receives the original no later than the 4th business day after receiving the emailed or faxed ABBM or faxed FPCA. An FPCA still has independent authority for email delivery under Section 101.052. This means an emailed FPCA is not required to be followed by hardcopy. 

Deadline to Mail Overseas Ballots

As a reminder, all ballots to FPCA voters must be mailed on or before the 45th day before election day. The deadline for mailing ballots for the 2020 primary election is Saturday, January 18, 2020. Please note that although the deadline falls on a Saturday, it does not extend to the next business day. Therefore, we recommend mailing your ballots by Friday, January 17, 2020.  If you plan on mailing your ballots on Saturday, we recommend that you consult with your local post office to confirm dates/hours their office will be open.

If a federal postcard application (FPCA) is received after the 45th-day deadline, the ballot should be mailed not later than the seventh calendar day after the date the FPCA is received. If a regular (non-FPCA) application for a ballot by mail is received after the 45th-day deadline from a voter who is not in the military or overseas, the ballot should be mailed not later than the seventh calendar day after the date the application is accepted.  Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 86.004(b).

The following are important deadlines affecting FPCA voters:

March 3, 2020 General Primary Election

May 26, 2020 Primary Runoff Election

November 3, 2020 General Election for State and County Officers

Emergency Ballots

We would also like to take this time to remind you that you have the authority to create emergency ballots. If you do not receive your ballots in time to meet the 45-day deadline, you may create your own paper ballots or, if you have a copy of the ballot in the Adobe .pdf format, which is often provided by the printer for your proofing, you may forward a copy to the voter. If you have a physical copy of the ballot and a scanner, you could scan the ballot and attach a copy of the scanned ballot to the email to the voter. If you have a copy of the ballot in Microsoft Word, you could attach a copy in that format. The main key is that it should be in a digital format that the average voter will be able to open and print.

Instructions for Emailing Ballots

Any voter who submits an FPCA and requests that the ballot be emailed, must be emailed a blank official ballot.

Here are the links to FPCA email instructions which we encourage you to use and modify as necessary for your county:

The following items should be included with your email to the voter:

The following items are helpful guidance on the MOVE Act’s requirements:

If you have any questions relating to the implementation of the MOVE Act, please contact our office at your earliest convenience. You may reach the Legal Department at 1-800-252-2216, Option 2.