By Nanette Forbes
TAC Legislative Staff
As required by the Federal Military Overseas Empowerment Act (MOVE), SB 100 facilitates the voting process for military and overseas voters who often encounter problems and time delays with the standard vote-by-mail process. SB 100 requires ballots to be mailed or emailed to military and overseas voters not later than the 45th day before election day.
In order for the state of Texas to accommodate the federal requirements of the MOVE Act, significant changes were made to the local election calendar. The changes to the election calendar are as follows:
- Nov. 12, 2011: First day to file for a place on the ballot (new law)
- Dec. 12, 2011: Last day to file for a place on the ballot (new law)
- Feb. 21, 2012: First day of early voting
- March 2, 2012: Last day of early voting
- March 6, 2012: Primary election date
- May 12, 2012: Limited uniform election date
- May 22, 2012: Primary runoff election date (new law)
- Nov. 6, 2012: Uniform election date
Since the May uniform election date falls between the March primary and the May runoff (early voting for the runoff primary begins two days after the May election), SB 100 limits the May uniform election date in even-numbered years to non-county elections only, and provides that county election officials are not required to contract to conduct local elections in May of even-numbered years.
The May uniform election date in odd-numbered years is not affected. The deadlines to order elections and to file an application for a place on the ballot have been adjusted to comport more accurately with the new reality of the resulting time constraints caused by the bill.
The announcement of candidacy for a different office, when more than one year remains in the office held, forces an automatic resignation from the current office. To comply with the MOVE Act, without changing the date of the March primary election, SB 100 imposes a Dec. 12 primary election filing deadline.
Since this filing schedule runs afoul of the constitutional “resign to run” provision, a constitutional amendment was passed by the Legislature to amend Article XVI, Section 65. The constitutional amendment, if passed by the voters on Nov. 8, will expand the period in which officers may file for election by an additional 30 days. Look for more information in a following edition of County Issues.
SB 100 has an effective date of Sept. 1, 2011.