Governor allows postponement of May elections

R. HANS MILLER | TIMES SENIOR REPORTER
Posted 3/18/20

Texas Governor Greg Abbottt has issued a proclamation allowing political subdivisions such as cities, counties and municipal utility districts to delay their May 2 regular elections to Nov. 3. This …

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Governor allows postponement of May elections

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Texas Governor Greg Abbottt has issued a proclamation allowing political subdivisions such as cities, counties and municipal utility districts to delay their May 2 regular elections to Nov. 3. This move will potentially combine the May election with the 2020 presidential election in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I strongly encourage local election officials to take advantage of these waivers and postpone their elections until November," Abbott said in a prepared statement. "Right now, the state's focus is responding to COVID-19 — including social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. By delaying this election, our local election officials can assist in that effort."

The action was taken under Section 418.016 of the Texas Government code and allows the state’s political subdivisions to move the elections to the next uniform election date, Nov. 3.

“It’s not an automatic process, the matter has to go before the [political subdivision’s governing body] and a decision is made there,” Katy City Secretary Becky McGrew said.

The matter will need to be decided upon by the Katy City Council, McGrew said. The issue will not change anything for the cities of Pattison nor Fulshear because both of those cities have cancelled their May 2 elections already due to no opponents stepping forward to run against incumbents.

Brookshire City Secretary Claudia Harrison said via telephone that Brookshire was in the same position as Katy and would need to have their council members make any decisions regarding postponing the election.

Katy ISD officials were just informed today and are working on determining a course of action, KISD Communications Manager Maria DiPetta said.

Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released a statement providing guidance for municipalities to delay their elections to the November timeframe. In that statement, the Hughs’ office stated that the extension does not impact the deadlines regarding filing for office, therefor the current candidate lists will remain the same barring candidates dropping out of their respective races.

The SOS statement also said that ballots by mail that have already been received or are received in the interim will be valid. Ballot by mail applicants that marked that their reason for a ballot by mail request was based on absence from the country will need to reapply for the ballot. Election authorities have been encouraged to send letters to those voters this situation applies to in order to expedite filing and ensure inclusion in the voting.

Voting offices will not be required to maintain extra hours for the May 2 election date. According to the SOS statement. However, extended hours requirements for Nov. 3 election timeframes will still go into effect at the time they are currently scheduled for.

Katy Times will update this article once more information becomes available. 

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