Note: Included opinions are from December 11, 2020 through January 10, 2021.
KP-0346 (Elections): In conjunction with his COVID-19 disaster declaration, Governor Abbott suspended provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow political subdivisions to postpone their May 2, 2020 elections to November 3, 2020. Alongside the Governor’s suspension, the Secretary of State (SOS) simultaneously issued an election advisory opinion (opinion) explaining that the order to allow for postponing the May election did not reopen the candidate filing deadlines.
The attorney general concludes that a court addressing the opinion would need to reconcile the language of the statutes tying the filing deadlines to election dates, the SOS’s express authority to apply and interpret election law in a uniform manner, and the lack of specific statutory instruction on the reopening of filing deadlines when an election is postponed after those deadlines pass. The attorney general cannot predict with certainty whether a court would accept the SOS’s conclusion, contained in Election Advisory Opinion 2020-12, that the candidate filing deadlines are not reopened by operation of the Governor’s suspension of elections. To the extent the legislature intends for election filing deadlines to move in such circumstances, the legislature may choose to clarify in the forthcoming legislative session by amendment to the Texas Election Code.