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Elections and Voter Information

Voter Information

Post-Election Procedures and Qualifying for Office

To: All Cities, School Districts, and Other Political Subdivisions
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Date: November 12, 2013
RE: Post-Election Procedures and Qualifying for Office
  1. Overview and Quick Reference

    1. Forms

      The following is a list of forms relevant to events after the November 5, 2013 elections.  Samples of these forms can be accessed from our website; or, you may request them from our office.

    2. Brief Reminders

      • Statements of Elected Officer are filed locally, NOT with the Secretary of State’s office.

      • Canvass must be conducted between Wednesday, November 13, 2013 and Monday, November 18, 2013.*

        *Note: The canvass may not be conducted until the early voting ballot board has: 1) verified and counted all provisional ballots, if a provisional ballot has been cast in the election, AND 2) counted all timely received ballots cast from addresses outside the United States, if a ballot by mail was provided to a person outside the United States.  (Note: Tuesday, November 12, 2013is the last day to receive carrier envelopes placed in the mail by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day from voters who are voting outside the United States.

        Tuesday, November 12, 2013 is the last day for the board to verify and count provisional ballots.)  Sections 65.051, 67.003 & 86.007(d)(3) of the Texas Election Code (“the Code”).

  2. Qualifying For Office


    1. Canvass Meeting

      The canvass must be conducted at an open meeting of the governing body between Wednesday, November 13, 2013 and Monday, November 18, 2013.  Pursuant to the Code, only two officers are needed for a quorum for a canvassing meeting.  Section 67.004(a) of the Code.

      The canvassing authority shall prepare a tabulation stating the following:

      1. Each candidate
        • Total number of votes received in each precinct
        • Sum of precinct totals tabulated
      1. Votes FOR and AGAINST each measure
        • Total number of votes received in each precinct
        • Sum of precinct totals tabulated
      1. Total number of voters who cast a ballot for a candidate or for or against a measure in the election

      Section 67.004(b), (b-1) of the Code.

      The tabulation may be prepared as a separate document or may be entered directly into the local election register maintained for the authority.  The authority shall either attach or include as part of the tabulation the report of early voting votes by precinct.  The early voting report is to be delivered to the local canvassing authority no later than the time of the local canvass.  Section 87.1231 of the Code.  For more details, see the procedure for local canvass at Section 67.004 of the Code.  The election register shall be preserved as a permanent record.  Section 67.006 of the Code.

    2. Certificate of Election, Statement of Elected Officer, and Oath of Office

      Questions often arise about the order of events following the election.  We recommend that post-election procedures occur in the following sequence:
      • Election is canvassed at an open meeting.
      • Certificate of Election is issued to newly-elected officers.
      • Statement of Officer is completed (to be filed locally).
      • Newly-elected officers may take the Oath of Office.
      • After taking the Oath of Office, newly-sworn officers may assume the duties of their office.*
      • Report electronic returns to Secretary of State.

      Tex. Const. Art. XVI, § 1; Sections 67.004 – 67.006, 67.016, 67.017 of the Code.

      * Note:  In some political subdivisions, the newly-elected officers may not assume the duties of office until a certain date.  For example, officers in a Type A general law city may not assume office until at least the fifth day after the election, excluding Sundays (Monday, November 11, 2013).  Section 22.036 of the Texas Local Government Code.  We note that in a November election, the earliest date to canvass the official results is the 8th day after election day; you must canvass the election before the officers-elect can qualify for office (be sworn in).  Also, your source law might require a bond.  For example, Section 22.072 of the Texas Local Government Code states that Type A cities have authority to require a bond.

      Before an elected (or appointed) officer may assume the duties of the office, the officer must first file a Statement of Elected or Appointed Officer with the official records of the governing body.  Tex. Const. Art. XVI, § 1.

      We recommend that the presiding officer issue the Certificate of Election at the canvass.  The presiding officer of the canvassing authority prepares the Certificate of Election.  Section 67.016 of the Code.  The form we provide is only a sample; many entities like to create their own.

      If a recount request has been filed, this does not halt the canvass.  However, the canvassing authority must make a note on the canvass that a recount has been requested.  Filing a recount petition delays the issuance of a certificate of election and qualification for the office involved in the recount pending completion of the recount.  Sections 212.033, 212.0331 of the Code.  See our current Recount advisory for deadlines; see our Recount outline, for more details.

    3. Who can Administeran Oath of Office

      The Oath of Office must be administered by someone authorized to administer an oath under Texas law.  The most commonly-used person to administer oaths is a notary public.  Additionally, Section 602.002 of the Texas Government Code authorizes all city secretaries to administer oaths for matters relating to city business.  In a Type A general law city, the mayor may also administer the oath.  Section 22.042 of the Texas Local Government Code.  Other officials who may administer an oath include: a judge, retired judge, senior judge, clerk of a court of record, justice of the peace or clerk of a justice court, legislator or retired legislator.  (See Chapter 602 of the Texas Government Code for the complete list.) 

    4. Oaths and Water Districts, Chapters 36 & 49, Texas Water Code

      Please note that special procedures apply to a newly-elected director of a water district governed by Chapters 36 or 49 of the Texas Water Code.  A duplicate original of the oath (but not the statement of elected/appointed officer) shall also be filed with the Secretary of State within 10 days after its execution and need not be filed before the new director begins to perform the duties of office.  Sections 36.055, 49.055 of the Texas Water Code. 

  3. Other Procedures and Questions

    1. Cancellation Procedures

      1. Unopposed Candidates

        Many entities have used the “cancellation” procedures in Sections 2.051-2.053 of the Code to declare unopposed candidates “elected” to office. The Statements of Elected Officer must be completed and filed at any time after the meeting at which the candidates were declared elected.  The remaining steps of the Certificate of Election and the Oath of Office, however, must be performed after Election Day in the usual manner; that is, not before the date the official canvass would normally be conducted. On the Certificate of Election, instead of the election date language, substitute “John Doe was duly elected for purposes of the November 5, 2013 election, pursuant to the [order or ordinance] issued on [date], cancelling the election that was scheduled to be held on November 5, 2013” or similar language. Section 67.016 of the Code.  Please note that cancellation forms can now be obtained from our office or by accessing our web site.

      2. What if Nobody Filed?

        What if nobody filed for an office?  If no one filed for an office (and your jurisdiction does not have open write-ins) the appropriate time to declare the official result ─ that no one filed and that no one won ─ is at the canvass. Even if the election was cancelled due to uncontested races, a vacancy in the office for which no one filed is declared at the meeting held after Election Day. The vacancy is then filled by the vacancy-filling procedures for that entity.  See Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. O-497 (1939); Sec’y State Op. No. JWF-36 (1984). Two officers constitute a quorum for canvassing the election results and declaring any resulting vacancy.  To fill the vacancy, however, you will need to meet the regular quorum requirements

    2. Tie votes, Runoffs

      A runoff election is required if the political subdivision requires majority vote (rather than plurality) and no candidate has received over half the total votes (e.g., 50.1% is more than half). Section 2.021 of the Code.  The general rule is that runoff elections are ordered for a date between 20 and 45 days after the final canvass.  See Section 2.025 of the Code for more details (including exceptions for legislative special elections).

      We encourage political subdivisions to confer with their county election officer before setting a runoff election date if they expect to be leasing county voting equipment in order to ensure the availability of that equipment.

      Tie votes for officers are governed by Section 2.002 of the Code. In an election requiring a plurality vote (i.e., the person with the most votes wins, even if it is not more than 50% of the votes cast), if two or more candidates for the same office tie for the number of votes required to be elected, a second election to fill the office shall be held.  However, before the second election is ordered, the tying candidates may agree to cast lots or withdraw to resolve the tie.  Section 2.002 of the Code.  If the tie vote is not resolved by a withdrawal or lot drawing, an automatic recount shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 216 of the Code before the second election is held.  If the automatic recount resolves the tie, the second election is not held.  If the tie is unresolved following the automatic recount, the authority responsible for ordering the first election shall then order the second election (not later than the fifth day after the date the automatic recount is completed or the final canvass following the automatic recount is completed).  The second election shall not be held earlier than the 20th day or later than the 30th day after the date the automatic recount is completed or the final canvass following the automatic recount is completed, if applicable.  For more details, see Section 2.002 and Chapter 216 of the Code.

      A tie vote in a runoff election triggers an automatic recount under Chapter 216 of the Code.  Section 2.028 of the Code. If the result is still tied, the election is resolved by the casting of lots under Section 2.028 of the Code.

      A tie vote in an election on a measure (i.e., a proposition election with for-against votes) means the measure failed, because there were not more votes For than Against.  There is no automatic recount procedure, since Chapter 216 of the Code, which regulates automatic recounts, only applies to candidate elections.

    3. Note about Joint Elections and Contracts for Election Services

      The procedures above outline the general rules; however, many entities may be holding joint elections in May (and/or have some type of contract for various election services with the county).  You should make every effort to be sure that everyone involved knows when, where, and by whom the various election records are to be prepared, delivered, and stored.

    4. File Returns with Secretary of State

      All political subdivisions are required to file electronic precinct-by-precinct returns with the Secretary of State Elections Division not later than Thursday, December 5, 2013 (the 30th day after election day). Section 67.017 of the Code.  For more information and log-in guidance, see Precinct Returns Reporting under your page on the “Conducting Your Elections” part of our website.  The source law for certain elections (such as a sales tax election) might require reporting returns to an agency like the comptroller.

      We appreciate your reviewing these materials. If you have any questions, please contact the Elections Division toll-free at 1-800-252-VOTE(8683).

      Note: This advisory focuses on canvassing and qualifying (swearing-in) procedures for local elections. Post-election procedures such as provisional voting and recounts are addressed by other advisories and materials.  See Election Advisory No. 2013-15 for recount deadlines for the November 5, 2013 Election.

c:  County Clerks/Elections Administrators (via web posting)

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