Texas Primary Election Runoff Postponed to July 14posted on 3.23.2020
Gov. Greg Abbott, citing COVID-19 mass gathering concerns, has postponed Texas primary runoff elections to Tuesday, July 14, a date he had already set for the SD 14 Texas Senate special election in the Austin area.
Earlier this month, Abbott issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow cities to postpone their May elections until the general election day in the fall, Nov. 3.
"I strongly encourage local election officials to take advantage of these waivers and postpone their elections until November," said Abbott.
"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."
Implications for broadcasters
Abbott’s actions shift some of the political windows broadcasters were expecting for upcoming elections.
The political window for the combined 38 Democratic and GOP primary runoff election races will open on Saturday, May 30.
The political window for those cities that postpone municipal elections to November will open on Friday, Sept. 4, the same date broadcasters were already using for federal and state offices up in the Nov. 3 general election.
Implications for the public
At this time, an early, in-person voting period is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 6.
Prior to Abbott’s action last week, however, Texas’ political parties had been in negotiations to make the May 26 primary runoff elections a mail-in ballot only affair.
Abbott has the authority to decree such an all-vote-by-mail system. Such an election would be a Texas first. There are four states that conduct their elections entirely by mail – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.
Texas allows absentee mail votes, but by law, those under 65 must explain their need to submit an absentee ballot.
For Abbott to move to an all mail-in process would likely require successful curtailment of COVID-19 spread in the coming months.
Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.
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