CITIES PLAY ELECTION DATE WAITING GAME

Two election bills moving through the process this session make it an almost certainty that cities’ current May election date, the second Saturday in May, will no longer be viable.  The reason for this is that federal law is forcing the state primary elections later into April or May, making it difficult or impossible for cities to get access to election machines that are tied up with the primary election occurring before and after that old May date.

There is one possible solution that will preserve a spring city election date:  cities can attempt to piggy-back their spring election onto some other primary or primary run-off date that will occur in spring.

There’s one problem with this strategy:  none of the bills in the process so far can agree on when the primary or primary run-off dates will be.  Proposed dates are spread from April to June, and it is totally unclear at this stage which dates will prevail.   Cities must remain flexible, in other words, and accept that we may not know until the dust settles from this legislative session what our 2012 election date options will be.

The League’s strategy at this point is this:  cities will accept any April, May, or June election date option that piggy-backs on some other election date (thus, allowing voting machine sharing).   Otherwise, we risk losing a workable spring date altogether, forcing all cities to switch to November elections. 

City officials concerned about keeping a viable spring election date should call or e-mail their representatives and senators now with the following message:  no matter what happens with the state’s election date bills, S.B. 100 by Van de Putte and H.B. 111 by Van Taylor, cities should be allowed a spring election date that piggy-backs on some other state election that occurs in April, May, or June.  We’ll take whatever date we can get; just don’t freeze us out of the process. 


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Texas Municipal League.

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