Has the Secretary of State’s Elections Division issued guidance
related to in-person voting for the upcoming elections?
Yes. Yesterday (6/18), the division released Election Advisory 2020-19 relating to voting in-person
during COVID-19. According to the SOS, the new advisory is “intended to
supplement our office’s guidance in Election Advisory No. 2020-14 (issued on April 6, 2020) and
the recommended health protocols for Texas election officials
and voters in response to COVID-19 (issued on May 26, 2020).” Among other
things, the new advisory addresses some of the public health and safety issues
that might arise checking in voters, inside the polling place, and with regard
to voting equipment.
Additionally, and of particular interest to some cities, the
guidance provides that a city that owns or operates a public building that is
closed due to COVID-19 may still need to make the building available for use as
a polling place:
“Pursuant to Section 43.031 of the Code, each
polling place shall be located inside a building and that building shall be a
public building, if practicable. A public building is defined as any “building
owned or controlled by the state or a political subdivision,” including cities
and schools. (Section 43.031(a)). Section 43.031(c) requires an entity that
owns or controls a public building to make the building available for use as a
polling place in any election that covers territory in which the building is
located. If an entity that owns or operates a public building is closed due
to concerns or orders relating to COVID-19, the entity still may need to make
its building available for use as a polling place.”
Interested city officials and employees, especially those
responsible for conducting city elections, are encouraged to read the advisory
in preparation for the upcoming election season.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here