(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow local governments to postpone their May 2 elections until Nov. 3 in response to the novel coronavirus.
"I strongly encourage local election officials to take advantage of these waivers and postpone their elections until November," Abbott said. "Right now, the state's focus is responding to COVID-19 – iincluding social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. By delaying this election, our local election officials can assist in that effort."
In conjunction with the governor’s action, Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released an election advisory providing guidance for political subdivisions on the process of postponing their May 2 elections.
The advisory provides guidance on candidate filings, ballot-by-mail requests, campaign finance filings, among other requirements.
Under Section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, Abbott suspended Sections 41.0052(a) and (b) of the Texas Election Code and Section 49.103 of the Texas Water Code to the extent necessary to allow political subdivisions to move their elections for 2020 only to the next uniform date, occurring on Nov. 3.
The governor also suspended Sections 31.093 and 42.0621(c) of the Texas Election Code to the extent necessary to require all county election officers to contract to furnish election services with political subdivisions if requested by these subdivisions. Only political subdivisions have authority to postpone these elections, but the governor’s suspensions allow political subdivisions to postpone the elections and strongly encourages them to do so.