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Election Advisory No. 2020-34

To: All Cities, School Districts, and Other Political Subdivisions
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Keith Ingram's signature
Date: November 3, 2020
RE: Canvass and Recount Deadlines for the November 3, 2020 Elections of Cities, School Districts and Other Political Subdivisions

This advisory is designed to be read together with the recount outline on our website. The recount forms can be downloaded from our website; alternatively, you may contact our office and request that the outline and forms be sent directly to you.

All statutory references in this advisory are to the Texas Election Code (“the Code”), unless otherwise indicated.

Canvass Dates

The final canvass is the local canvass. (Tex. Elec. Code § 67.005). The local canvass for the November 3, 2020 General Election must be held not earlier than the third day after election day (Friday, November 6, 2020) and not later than the fourteenth day after election day (Tuesday, November 17, 2020).

The canvass cannot occur until the early voting ballot board has verified and counted all provisional ballots, if a provisional ballot has been cast in the election; or the date on which all timely received ballots cast from addresses outside of the United States are counted, if a ballot to be voted by mail in the election was provided to a person outside of the United States. (Tex. Elec. Code § 67.003).

Recount Deadlines

Below are the deadlines for filing a recount for local elections of cities, school districts and other political subdivisions for elections occurring on November 3, 2020. Please note that there are two sets of recount filing deadlines. Which set of deadlines applies to you 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 canvassed. You cannot canvass your election until the early voting ballot board has convened and counted all provisional and overseas ballots. (Tex. Elec. Code § 67.003).

All ballots received by 7:00 p.m. on election day must be counted on election day. However, you may count a late domestic ballot from a non-military voter or a military voter using an ABBM (not an FPCA) that arrives no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day after election day (November 4, 2020) if it bears a cancellation mark of the postal service or a receipt mark of a common or contract carrier or a courier not later than 7:00 p.m. on November 3, 2020. The last day to receive a ballot from an overseas voter using an FPCA is five days after the election, which is Monday, November 9, 2020 (as the fifth day falls on a Sunday). The last day to receive a ballot from a military voter using an FPCA is the sixth day after the election, which is Monday, November 9, 2020. The last day for the early voting ballot board to convene and count provisional and overseas ballots is the thirteenth day after the election, which is Monday, November 16, 2020. (Tex. Elec. Code §§ 65.051, 86.007(a)(2), 86.007(d)(3), 87.125, 101.057).

Deadlines for Regular Recount Requests

If your entity elects:

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

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

If these criteria apply to your entity, then for the November 3, 2020 election, the following dates apply:

Deadlines for Expedited Recount Requests

If these criteria apply to your entity, then for the November 3, 2020 election, the following dates apply:

Note About Joint Canvassing Authorities

Section 271.011 of the 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 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). (Tex. Elec. Code § 2.023).

For more details, please see our Recount Outline and Advisory 2020-33 Post-Election Procedures.

If you need additional assistance, you may contact the Elections Division toll-free at 1-800-252-VOTE(8683).

CC: County Clerks/Elections Administrators