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Election Advisory No. 2020-15

To: All Cities, School Districts, and Other Political Subdivisions
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Keith Ingram's signature
Date: May 5, 2020
RE: Canvass and Recount Deadlines for the May 2, 2020 Elections of Cities, School Districts and Other Political Subdivisions

This deadline memo is designed to be read together with the recount outline on our website. The recount forms (PDF) can be downloaded from our website; alternatively, you may contact our office and request that the outline and forms be mailed directly to you.

The dates and deadlines described in this advisory do not apply to political subdivisions who postponed their May 2, 2020 elections. The canvass and recount deadlines for those postponed elections will be based on the date that the postponed election is actually held.

Below are the deadlines for filing a recount for local elections of cities, school districts and other political subdivisions that were actually held on the May 2, 2020 uniform election date. Please note that there are two sets of recount filing deadlines. Which set of deadlines applies is based on the method of election (i.e., majority or plurality).

The deadline for filing a recount depends on the date the election is actually canvassed. You cannot canvass your election until the early voting ballot board has convened and counted all provisional, late and overseas ballots. All ballots by mail received by 7:00 pm on Election Day must be counted on Election Day. However you may also count a late domestic ballot that a non-military voter or a military voter using an ABBM (not an FPCA) that arrived not later than 5:00 pm on the next business day after the Election (Monday, May 4, 2020) if it bears a cancellation mark of postal service or a receipt mark of a common or contract carrier or a courier not later than 7:00 pm on May 2, 2020. The last day to receive a ballot from a non-military overseas voter is Thursday, May 7, 2020. The last day to receive a ballot from a military voter is Friday, May 8, 2020. The last day for the early voting ballot board to convene to qualify provisional and overseas ballots is Monday, May 11, 2020. [Secs. 65.051, 67.003 & 86.007(d)(3)]

After the early voting ballot board has convened and the ballots have been counted, the election may be canvassed. The May 2, 2020 election must be canvassed no earlier than the third day after the election (Tuesday, May 5, 2020) and no later than the eleventh day after the election (Wednesday, May 13, 2020). [Sec. 67.003]

Deadlines for Regular Recount Requests

If your entity elects:

THEN the deadline to file for a recount is THE LATER of these two dates:

[Secs. 212.021, 212.028, 212.081, 212.083]

Please note that candidates are elected by plurality vote, unless the law specifically provides otherwise (e.g., statute, home-rule charter, court order). [Sec. 2.001]

If these criteria apply to your entity, then for the May 2, 2020 election, the following dates apply:

Canvass Date Recount Request Deadline (Regular):
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 5:00 p.m., Thursday, May 7, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 8, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 11, 2020  (Sec. 1.006)
Friday, May 8, 2020 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 11, 2020 (Sec. 1.006)
Saturday, May 9, 2020 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 11, 2020
Sunday, May 10, 2020 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 5:00 p.m., Thursday, May 14, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 15, 2020

Deadlines for Expedited Recount Requests

IF your entity elects:

THEN the deadline to file for a recount is THE LATER of these two dates:

[Secs. 212.081, 212.083, 212.088]

If these criteria apply to your entity, then for the May 2, 2020 election, the following dates apply:

Canvass Date Recount Request Deadline (Expedited):
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 7, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020 2:00 p.m., Friday, May 8, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 11, 2020 (Sec. 212.088)
Saturday, May 9, 2020 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 11, 2020 (Sec. 212.088)
Sunday, May 10, 2020 2:00 p.m., Monday, May 11, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 14, 2020

Note About Joint Canvassing Authorities

Section 271.011 of the Texas Election Code authorizes a joint canvassing authority. If your joint election agreement designated a joint canvassing authority, please be advised that Section 212.026(b) of the Code requires the recount petition to be filed with the presiding officer of your regular canvassing authority.

Reminder on Tie Votes and Automatic Recounts

Please note that even though recounts can be requested by candidates based on unofficial returns, the automatic recount based on a tie pursuant to Section 2.002 (plurality vote) should be based on the official canvassed returns.

In a race requiring a majority vote, the candidates in a runoff are the “top two” candidates (based on the official canvassed returns); either the two with the highest and second-highest number of votes, or the two who tie for the highest number of votes. The Election Code provides that an automatic recount will be conducted in other (rare) circumstances (for example, a three-way tie for highest vote, or a tie for the second-highest vote). [Sec. 2.023]

See recount outline and Advisory 2020-16 on post-election procedures for more details. If you need additional assistance, you may contact the Elections Division toll-free at 1-800-252-VOTE(8683).

KI:CP