Monday, August 8, 2011

2012 Election Calendar

Last updated March 29, 2012 - Important 2012 Election Dates and Voter ID Information. Verify all dates at the Texas Secretary of State Website

On March 1, the San Antonio U.S. District Court three-judge panel, which controls the state's interim redistricting maps and 2012 primary election schedule, issued an order that allows the Texas Democratic Party and Republican Party of Texas to hold their respective County/Senatorial District (SD) Conventions in April - before the Texas Primary Election that is now scheduled to occur on May 29.

In normal primary election years the state Democratic and Republican Parties conduct their respective SD/County conventions three weeks after primary election day and election precinct conventions, held immediately after the primary election.

Election precinct conventions normally kick off the three stage convention process by electing precinct delegates to attend the SD/County conventions. Delegates are then elected from the SD/County conventions to advance to each party's state conventions, which are held in early June. In presidential election years delegates from each party's state convention are selected to advance to the National Conventions to nominate each party's presidential candidates.

This year, drawn out court battles over the new redistricting maps have pushed Primary Election Day from its usual first Tuesday in March date to Tuesday May 29. Early voting for the May 29th Primary Election will run from Monday, May 14, 2012 to Friday, May 25, 2012 at the usual early polling locations around Collin Co.

Since the Democratic and Republican Parties were already locked into holding their respective state conventions the weekend of June 9 - just over one week after the rescheduled primary date - they asked the San Antonio three-judge panel to issue an order allowing them to hold their respective County/Senatorial District Conventions around the state on Saturday April 21, 2012 - five weeks before the rescheduled Democratic Primary Election Day of Tuesday May 29, 2012.

This year, the Texas Democratic Party convention and delegate selection process will skip preliminary Election Precinct Conventions and begin with County/Senatorial District Conventions on Saturday April 21, 2012.


May 29, 2012 - Primary Election

Federal Court Order of December 16, 2011 (PDF)
Federal Court Orders of March 1, 2012 (PDF)
A more detailed calendar is at the TX SOS Candidates Guide

Authority conducting elections Political Party County Chairs
First Day to File for Place on Ballot First Day of “second time period”: March 2, 2012 (Mar. 1, 2012 court order)
Last Day to File for Place on Ballot Last Day of “second time period”: March 9, 2012, 6:00 p.m. (Mar. 1, 2012 court order, offices other than precinct chair)
First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
(does not apply to FPCA)
March 30, 2012
(Mar. 1, 2012 court order preserves certain previous filings)
Last Day to Register to Vote April 30, 2012 (Monday, which is next business day after statutory deadline)
First Day of Early Voting May 14, 2012
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
(Received, not Postmarked)
May 22, 2012
Last Day of Early Voting May 25, 2012
Primary Election Date May 29, 2012


July 31, 2012 - Primary Runoff Election

Federal Court Order of December 16, 2011 (PDF)
Federal Court Orders of March 1, 2012 (PDF)
A more detailed calendar is at the TX SOS Candidates Guide

Authority conducting elections Political Party County Chairs
First Day to File for Place on Ballot For Precinct Chair First Day of “second time period”: March 2, 2012 (Mar. 1, 2012 court order, offices other than precinct chair)
Last Day to File for Place on Ballot For Precinct Chair

Pursuant to US District Court Order Number: case 5:11-cv-00788-OLG-JES-XR filed March 19, 2012, filing will reopen for Precinct Chairs only to file, amend or withdraw for a place on the 2012 Democratic Primary Run-Off Election Ballot to be held on July 31, 2012 and will close at 6 pm on June 1st, 2012.

Last Day of “second time period” for precinct chairs: June 1, 2012, 6:00 p.m. (Mar. 19, 2012 court order)
First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (does not apply to FPCA) June 1, 2012 (if did not request runoff ballot on application for primary ballot)
Deadline for county chairs to forward to elections administrators a list of candidates in each precinct seeking the office of precinct chair, in order of filing. June 4, 2012
Last Day to Register to Vote July 2, 2012 (Monday, which is next business day after statutory deadline)
First Day of Early Voting July 23, 2012
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked) July 24, 2012
(Received, not Postmarked)
Last Day of Early Voting July 27, 2012
Primary Runoff Election Date July 31, 2012


May 12, 2012 – Limited Local Election Uniform Election Date

NEW LAW: Some Jurisdictions Have Revised Their Local Election Schedule To Hold Elections Only On Odd Numbered Years And No Longer Hold A Local Election On Even Numbered Primary Years Because Primary Runoff Elections Were Moved From Early April To The Fourth Tuesday in May. See Election Notes Below.
Authority conducting elections *Local political subdivisions other than counties

(NEW LAW: County-ordered elections may not be held on this date. County Election Officials may but is not required to contract to provide election services to political subdivisions.)
First Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot
(for cities and schools ONLY)
(filing deadline for other political subdivisions may vary)**
February 4, 2012
(Even though the first day to file falls on a Saturday, this does not require the filing authority to hold weekend office hours to receive candidate applications.)
Last Day to File for Place on Ballot, if regular filing deadline** March 5, 2012
(NEW LAW: 71st day before election day; falls on state holiday March 2, 2012; moves to Monday, next business day)

***March 16, 2012 (see note below relating to four-year terms)
Last Day to Order General Election (or Special Election on a Measure)** March 5, 2012
(NEW LAW: 71st day before election day; falls on state holiday March 2, 2012; moves to Monday, next business day)
First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail March 13, 2012
Last Day to Register to Vote April 12, 2012
First Day of Early Voting April 30, 2012
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked) May 4, 2012
(Friday, preceding business day)
Last Day of Early Voting May 8, 2012
Election Date May 12, 2012


County & Precinct Chairs New Term of Office Begins


Pursuant to US District Court Order Number: case 5:11-cv-00788-OLG-JES-XR filed March 19, 2012, filing will reopen for Precinct Chairs only to file, amend or withdraw for a place on the 2012 Democratic Primary Run-Off Election Ballot to be held on July 31, 2012 and will close at 6 pm on June 1st, 2012.

Authority *Political Party County Chairs
County & Precinct Chair New Term of Office Begins
(2012-2014)
In 2012, due to redistricting, the normal process has been altered. Some counties have chosen to elect their precinct chairs at the county convention on April 21. Others will elect their precinct chairs on the ballot at the July 31 runoff election. The term of office for a precinct chair is two years, beginning on the 20th day following the July 31, 2012 Primary runoff election. The County Executive Committee fills vacancies for unexpired terms.


June 8-9, 2012 - TDP State Convention

Authority *State Political Party
Texas Democratic Party State Convention
(Houston-George R. Brown Convention Center)
June 8-9, 2012
How to be a delegate at the 2012 Texas Democratic Party State Convention - click here
Texas Democratic Party Delegate Selection Plan - click here



September 3-6, 2012 - DNC National Convention

Authority *National Political Party
DNC National Convention (Charlotte, NC) September 3-6, 2012


November 6, 2012 - Uniform Election Date

Authority conducting elections County Clerk/Elections Administrator/
*Local political subdivisions
County Party Chairs submit list of presiding election and alternate judges to election authority for appointment (Nov. General Election - early voting and election day) June 29, 2012
County chair may supplement the list of names until the 20th day before a general election - (Secs. 32.002(a)(1), (c); 127.005(e) - Sec. 87.002(c), (d))
First Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot (for cities and schools ONLY)
(filing deadline for other political subdivisions may vary)**
July 21, 2012
(Even though the first day to file falls on a Saturday, this does not require the filing authority to hold weekend office hours to receive candidate applications.)
Last Day to Order General Election
(or Special Election)**

August 20, 2012

Last Day to File for Place on General Election Ballot (for local political subdivisions ONLY)**

August 20, 2012

First Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
(does not apply to FPCA)
September 7, 2012
Last Day to Register to Vote October 9, 2012
(Tuesday, next business day after Columbus Day)
First Day of Early Voting October 22, 2012 (Monday, next business day)
Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail
(Received, not Postmarked)
October 30, 2012
Last Day of Early Voting November 2, 2012

**Filing deadlines:

  1. Generally, the filing deadline is the 71st day prior to Election Day (78th day prior to November General Election in even-numbered years); however, the Election Code may provide a different special election filing deadline. See Section 201.054 of the Texas Election Code.
  2. Local political subdivisions, other than cities or school districts, might not have a "first day" to file. Write-in deadlines for general and special elections also vary, but the deadline is usually on the 5th day after the regular filing deadline for the election.

** If no candidate for a four-year term has filed an application for a place on the ballot for a city office, the filing deadline for that office is extended to 5 p.m. of the 57th day before the election. See Section 143.008 of the Texas Election Code.




Information Sources and Forms

Texas Secretary of State (SOS) sos.state.tx.us/elections
SOS Candidate Information sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/index.shtml
SOS Form: Petition in Lieu of a Filing Fee and/or Petition for Judicial Office (for use in a primary election) sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/pol-sub/2-3f.pdf
All SOS Election Forms sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/index.shtml
Texas Ethics Commission Campaign-Related
Forms and Filing Requirements
ethics.state.tx.us/main/forms.htm
Texas Democratic Party Candidates Resources txdemocrats.org/resources/candidate-resources/
List of key Texas election dates txredistricting.org/post/18567224737/list-of-key-texas-election-dates


Election notes on the 2011 Texas Legislative Session

The 2011 Texas Legislative Session revised the Texas Election Calendar, to comply with the federal Move Act, with the passage of SB100. SB100 requires ballots to be mailed or emailed to military and overseas voters no later than the 45th day before the election. To satisfy this requirement all Primary Election candidate filing dates were move back to start in early November and end in early December. Previously the filing period had been during the calendar month of December to the first business day of January. The "45 day" requirement also shifts the Primary Runoff Election date from early April to the Fourth Tuesday in May -- May 22 for the 2012 election cycle. The "45 day" requirement applies to:

  1. All elections in which a federal office appears on the ballot;
  2. Elections to fill a vacancy in the state legislature, unless the election is an emergency or expedited; and
  3. An election held jointly with an election described in (1) or (2).

The new primary Run off Election date impacts Cities and School Districts, which historically held their elections in May of even numbered years. SB 100 gives cities and school districts the option of moving their non-partisan elections to November of odd or even years, or to May of odd years.

Cities and School districts who chose to continue to hold their elections in May of even numbered years, likely will be forced to find alternate vendors to conduct their election. Many local jurisdictions rely on their County's Election Office to supply voting equipment and staff to run their election. County Election Administrators may no longer able to turn around election equipment quickly enough, if a Primary Runoff Election is scheduled. Cities and school boards are assessing the feasibility of conducting their own elections without contracting with the county election office to supply election equipment and staff verses moving their elections to the November uniform general election date. Counties in Texas already conduct Elections each and every November. Conducting a Joint Election in November could save the taxpayers some money.



Election Advisory No. 2011-09
To: All County, City, School District, and Other Political Subdivision Election Officials
From: Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections
Date: June 24, 2011
RE: Legislative Implementation of the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act and the Impact on the Texas Election Calendar

To comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE), the Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) in the 82nd Regular Session. This Advisory is intended to provide a basic summary and notice of the impact on the 2012 election calendar. SB 100 does not apply to the November 8, 2011 election. Our office will soon provide more detailed information concerning all the new requirements.

As required by MOVE, SB 100 enhances the voting process for military and overseas voters who may encounter obstacles and time delays with the standard vote by mail process. SB 100 requires ballots to be mailed or emailed to military and overseas voters no later than the 45th day before the election. This requirement applies to:

  1. All elections in which a federal office appears on the ballot;
  2. Elections to fill a vacancy in the state legislature, unless the election is an emergency or expedited; and
  3. An election held jointly with an election described in (1) or (2).

In addition, SB 100 provides that a Federal Postcard Application is effective for a single calendar year instead of the previous effective period of two federal general elections.

The mandate to mail ballots 45 days before an election has a significant impact on the entire election calendar. For example, although primary elections will continue to be the first Tuesday in March, runoff primary elections are moved from the second Tuesday in April to the fourth Tuesday in May.

SB 100 also affects the May uniform election date which now falls between the March primary and the May primary runoff. Early voting for the primary runoff begins two days after the May uniform election date. SB 100 limits the May uniform election date in even-numbered years to only non-county elections. The May uniform election date in odd-numbered years is unaffected.

The deadlines to order elections and the deadlines to file an application for place on the ballot are also adjusted. Below is a summary of the new 2012 election dates and deadlines:

Deadline to file an application for place on the primary ballot December 12, 2011
Deadline to conduct primary ballot drawing December 20, 2011
Deadline to mail ballots to MOVE voters for primary January 21, 2012
Primary Early Voting Period February 21-March 2, 2012
Deadline to file an application for place on the May ballot March 5, 2012
PRIMARY ELECTION DAY March 6, 2012
Deadline to mail ballots to MOVE voters for runoff April 7, 2012
May uniform election day early voting period April 30 – May 8, 2012
MAY UNIFORM ELECTION DAY (Limited) May 12, 2012
Primary Runoff Early Voting Period May 14 – 18, 2012
PRIMARY Runoff Election Day May 22, 2012

Cities, schools or other political subdivisions that hold a general election in May of even-numbered years are urged to contact their county election officials soon to determine if county election officials will be able to contract to either conduct the election or lease voting equipment in May of even-numbered years. County election officials are not required to contract to conduct elections in May of even-numbered years. Similarly, counties are not required to lease voting equipment if doing so jeopardizes the equipment’s availability for county elections.

SB 100 does not require a political subdivision to change its general election date but it does allow a political subdivision to change to the November uniform election date or to May of an odd-numbered year. Consistent with legislative intent, the Office of the Secretary of State will likely adopt an administrative rule clarifying that a political subdivision may move its general election date from May of an even-numbered year to May of an odd-numbered year.

In addition, SB 100 contains the following provisions to facilitate a change in election date and/or a change to the term of office:

  • A home rule city may pass a resolution to change the general election date or to provide for the election of all members of the governing body at the same election. The resolution supersedes any charter provision to the contrary.
  • A school board may adopt a resolution no later than December 31, 2011 that changes the length of trustees’ terms. The resolution must provide for staggered terms of either three or four years, and the transition must begin with the first regular election occurring after January 1, 2012.
  • A general law municipality whose governing body serves one or three year terms or staggered terms may adopt a resolution no later than December 31, 2012, changing the length of term to two years or providing for the election of all members of the governing body at the same election.
  • Any political subdivision that elects the members of its governing body to a term that consists of odd-numbered years may adopt a resolution no later than December 31, 2012, changing the length of the term to an even number of years.

While more detailed information is forthcoming, we wanted to alert you to the election calendar changes so that you can begin to assess the impact on your election calendar. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Elections Division at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683).



Texas' new (SB14) Voter Photo ID requirement not yet in effect Pending U.S. Dept. of Justice and U.S. District Court action

Election Advisory No. 2011-10

To: All County, City, School District, and Other Political Subdivision Election Officials
From: Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections
Date: June 24, 2011
RE: New photo voter identification requirements – SB 14

The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 14, creating a new photo voter identification requirement for voter qualification in all elections in Texas beginning January 1, 2012. This advisory is intended as an overview of the new requirement. Additional information and forms are forthcoming. The new law requires all voters to present one of the following forms of photo identification in order to be eligible to vote:

  • Driver’s license, election identification certificate, personal identification card, or concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety;
  • United States Military identification card containing the person’s photograph;
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph; or
  • United States passport.

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

There are several exemptions to the photo voter identification requirement. Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for an exemption. Pursuant to Senate Bill 14, the exemption application, which our office will prescribe, must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing the applicant’s disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. In addition, the applicant must state that he or she has no valid form of photo identification. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption.

Other exemptions include voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed and voters who do not have any photo identification as a result of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor. These voters may cast a provisional ballot at the polls and must sign an affidavit attesting to those facts in the presence of the county voter registrar within six days of the election date.

Finally, the new law creates a “cure period” for voters who cast a provisional ballot without presenting a valid form of photo identification. These voters have up to six days after the election to present to the county voter registrar appropriate photo identification. Once this and all other requirements are met, then the provisional ballot must be accepted.

The photo voter identification requirement of Senate Bill 14 goes into effect January 1, 2012. Beginning September 1, 2011, election officials are required to begin work to implement the new law by enacting the following:

  • Voter registration certificates issued by county voter registrars in November 2011 must contain new language prescribed by the Office of the Secretary of State describing the photo identification requirements on the reverse of the certificate.
  • Voter registrars of counties that maintain a website must post notice on their websites of the new identification requirements in each language in which voter registration materials are available. The Office of the Secretary of State will prescribe the language. Notice will also be posted on the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Each county clerk must post in a prominent location at the clerk’s office a physical copy of the notice of new identification requirements prescribed by the Office of the Secretary of State in each language in which voter registration materials are available.
  • The Office of the Secretary of State must develop new training standards on the acceptance and handling of photo voter identification by polling place officials.
  • Election clerks must complete a new training program.
  • An election official must distribute a written notice describing the new photo identification requirement to each person who votes in the November 8, 2011 election.

The Office of the Secretary of State is also required to conduct a statewide effort to educate voters on the new voter identification requirements.

Lastly, Senate Bill 14 creates a new form of photo identification called an election identification certificate, which the Texas Department of Public Safety issues. Effective January 1, 2012, registered voters or those eligible to register who do not have a required form of photo identification may apply for the election identification certificate. There is no fee for the certificate.

Our office will send you additional information in the near future. We hope this overview is helpful and we look forward to partnering with Texas election officials to ensure voters understand the new requirement. If you have any questions, please contact the Elections Division at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683).

Election Advisory No. 2011-11 - 2011 Legislative Summary


History of Court Orders Changing Election Related Dates

( January 28, 2012)

On January 28, 2012, the United States District Court For The Western District Of Texas San Antonio Division issued and order vacating all primary election deadlines noted in its December 16, 2011 order for a April 3, 2012 primary election and April 21, 2012 Democratic county/senate-district convention.

Dates given in this article below for a April 3, 2012 primary election and April 21, 2012 Democratic county/senate-district convention are no longer valid.

The San Antonio court is expected order a new primary election timeline during the first or second week of February 2012.



( December 21, 2011)

On Friday December 9, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) delayed the Texas' Democratic and Republican Primary Election and County Convention schedule by at least one month when it granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's request to stay the use of redistricting maps drawn by a three judge panel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio:

It is ordered that the orders issued by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas on November 23, 2011, in case Nos. 5:11-CV-360, and 5:11-CV-788, and the order of November 26, 2011, in case No. 5:11-CV-360, are hereby stayed pending further order of the Court.

The stay blocks the court-drawn maps for legislative and congressional districts in Texas and tells the lawyers involved to be ready for oral arguments on Monday, January 9, 2012.

Candidates were already filing for office, working against a Thursday, December 15 deadline. Since the SCOTUS stay left no defined districts for which to file, that deadline became meaningless, at least for the congressional and state legislative candidates. The San Antonio court's district maps could be replaced with the original maps drawn during the 2011 Texas legislative session or different maps after the Supreme Court hears oral arguments and issues its ruling. Candidates, whether they filed during the first filing period, or not, will have to their final filing decisions after the Supreme Court issues its ruling after hearing oral arguments on January 9, 2012.

Don't bet that the April 3, 2012 election date and April 21, 2012 Democratic county/senate-district convention date won't change again - and if you do bet, don't give odds.

On December 21, 2011 organizations representing Texas counties told the San Antonio court in a pleading that they have “serious reservations and concerns” about their ability to comply with the April 3rd election schedule negotiated by the Democratic and Republican paLinkrties and adopted last Friday by court order.

The organizations said that compliance would be “extremely difficult and expensive” if even physically possible and could “lead to voter confusion and disenfranchisement.”

The court based the April 3rd date on having a map in place by Feb. 1st. But the counties say that wouldn't leave them enough time. The court would give them only two weeks to prepare voter registration certificates that take six to seven weeks to prepare, the groups said.

It's not clear that April 3rd will ultimately work out for the courts, either.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hold oral arguments on a court-drawn map on Jan. 9, and a separate three-judge federal panel in Washington, D.C. will start hearings on the Legislature's versions of the maps on Jan. 17. The panel in San Antonio has Jan. 14 marked as the day to hear from lawyers about the election schedule. If the courts don't finish their work on maps by the end of January, the April 3 date will have to slide again — and all of those questions were in the air before the counties weighed in with their concerns.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio on December 16, 2011 issued an entirely new April 3, 2012 primary election and county/senate-district convention calendar.

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