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Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Party Convention list procedures

To: All County Officials (CC/EA/VR/County Chairs)
From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Date: April 4, 2012
RE: Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Party Convention list procedures

See Election Advisory No. 2012-07

Should the county voter registrar give the party chairs an official list of registered voters for use at the convention since there is no primary election taking place on that day?

The parties may request at least one official list of registered voters to help them identify registered voters, which is a requirement under the Texas Election Code, and the county must supply the lists of registered voters at no charge to the party.  Section 172.1141.  Remember that pursuant to the court order, the voters need to sign off on the oath; this is the record to be returned to the registrar.  The court authorizes the parties to create forms for their conventions.  (In light of our “one list” advice to save time and costs, it is reasonable for the parties to make the information on the marked list available upon request if needed for the county voter registrar to correctly identify voters for the notations on the official list prepared for the elections.)  Therefore, in the advisory, the following three options are recommended for convention use:

How does the county voter registrar produce an official list of registered voters for a convention?

The county voter registrar will “create” an election in their voter registration system for the respective convention date provided by the local county chair or they can print an official voter registration list.  Some counties have chosen to drop the voter registration data into an excel spreadsheet in order to accommodate the oath of affiliation and signature line.

Are the parties responsible for giving the county a list of convention participants who took the oath of affiliation?

Yes, this record should go to the county voter registrar.  As stated in our Election Advisory No. 2012-07, the Elections Division recommends that the county chair deliver the lists no later than 3 days after the Republican Party convention and 5 days after the Democratic convention.
The court says “county elections officer” in paragraph (b); this is defined in the Election Code as the county clerk or elections administrator.  However, given the clear purpose of the document, the list of convention attendees who took the oath of affiliation should go to the office of the county voter registrar.  If the county clerk receives the record, he or she should immediately forward to the county voter registrar. 

What happens if the county voter registrar does not receive the list of convention participants in the time to denote the convention participants in the voter registration database in time for inclusion on the official list of registered voters for the primary elections?

The convention lists will have to be distributed separately with the election materials to the election workers to check for voter ineligibility. 

What voter registration status does a person need to participate in a Republican or Democratic party precinct convention?

You should note that the federal court order allows parties to conduct their “precinct” conventions at their county and senatorial district convention.  Pursuant to Section 174.024, in addition to the requirement of party affiliation, to be eligible to participate in a precinct convention, a person must be a registered voter of the precinct or a precinct resident who is eligible to vote a limited ballot under Chapter 112.  

How do we handle the question of eligibility to vote in a party’s primary relative to attendance at a convention?

Please refer to the enclosed Party Convention List Procedures insert for the election judges’ and clerks’ handbook.  Briefly, the court invokes Election Code Section 172.125 and expands those procedures to the primary as well as the primary runoff (in response to notations for convention attendance as well as voting history).  The form to be used is a new form called the “Affidavit of Non-Participation and Affiliation (PDF)” form, which is attached.  

What did the court order actually say?  Does the convention attendance procedure apply to other parties?

The February 28, 2012 court order provided that the order applies to “those parties required to nominate candidates by primary election.”  Some parties are authorized (but are not required) to hold primaries; in 2012, only the parties required to hold a primary (i.e., Republican and Democratic Parties) are doing so.  Any reference to a convention, refers to the Republican and Democratic Party conventions.   

Where is the completed affidavit delivered after the election?

The completed Affidavit of Non-Participation and Affiliation forms should be placed in Envelope No. 4 for delivery to the county voter registrar.

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Updated: April 13, 2012