TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to https://www.tml.org/DocumentCenter/View/2073/AmicusBriefUpdate_081320.
Elections: Attorney General Opinion Request RQ-0363-KP, candidate filing period for postponed elections. State Representative Mays Middleton asked two questions in relation to city elections that were postponed from May until November due to the Coronavirus: First, if an eligible candidate seeks a place on the ballot for a May election moved to November, but has not filed previously, are they afforded an opportunity to do so?Second, can a jurisdiction deny them a place on the ballot if they now file within the statutorily prescribed timeframe, but did not previously do so?
In response to Mr. Middleton’s request, TML urged the attorney general to give deference to the governor’s order, the Secretary of State Elections Division’s guidance, and a city’s continuity of government and interest in protection of the public fisc. In these unprecedented times, many cities took the extraordinary action to postpone their general election for officers from May to November. That action took place after the expiration of the period to file an application for a place on the ballot for the May election, and the Secretary of State’s Elections Division advised (and the governor presumably agreed) that, while the election itself was moved, the filing period for the election had already concluded. The bottom line is that the governor has taken decisive and appropriate action to protect Texans voting rights and their safety, and he is supported by the state’s elections experts. The logistical, procedural, and financial problems that could be caused by an opinion to re-open the otherwise closed filing deadline cannot be overstated. Thus, the answers to the questions posed in RQ-0363-KP are: (1) no; and (2) yes. TML’s letter brief was filed on July 21, 2020.