Bill Text: TX HB117 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to preferential voting in a primary election.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-11-09 - Filed [HB117 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB117-Introduced.html
  87R1355 TSS-D
 
  By: Meza H.B. No. 117
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to preferential voting in a primary election.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 18.069, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 18.069.  VOTING HISTORY.  Not later than the 30th day
  after the date of the primary[, runoff primary,] or general
  election or any special election ordered by the governor, the
  registrar shall electronically submit to the secretary of state the
  record of each voter participating in the election.  The record must
  include a notation of whether the voter voted on election day, voted
  early by personal appearance, voted early by mail under Chapter 86,
  or voted early by mail under Chapter 101.
         SECTION 2.  Section 31.093(c), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  On request of the county chair of a political party
  holding a primary election in the county, the county election
  officer shall contract with the county executive committee of the
  party to perform election services, as provided by this subchapter,
  in the party's general primary election [and runoff primary
  election] in accordance with a cost schedule agreed on by the
  contracting parties.
         SECTION 3.  Section 32.091(c), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  For a primary [or runoff primary] election, the minimum
  hourly rate is the greater of the maximum rate provided by
  Subsection (a) or, if the election officer attended a training
  program as provided by Subchapter F, $7.
         SECTION 4.  Section 41.001(c), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  Except for an election under Subsection (a) or Section
  41.0011 or a runoff election following an election held under
  Subsection (a)(2), an election may not be held within 30 days before
  or after the date of the general election for state and county
  officers or the[,] general primary election[, or runoff primary
  election].
         SECTION 5.  Section 43.007(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The secretary of state shall implement a program to
  allow each commissioners court participating in the program to
  eliminate county election precinct polling places and establish
  countywide polling places for:
               (1)  each general election for state and county
  officers;
               (2)  each election held on the uniform election date in
  May and any resulting runoff;
               (3)  each election on a proposed constitutional
  amendment;
               (4)  each primary election [and runoff primary
  election] if:
                     (A)  the county chair or county executive
  committee of each political party participating in a joint primary
  election under Section 172.126 agrees to the use of countywide
  polling places; or
                     (B)  the county chair or county executive
  committee of each political party required to nominate candidates
  by primary election agrees to use the same countywide polling
  places; and
               (5)  each election of a political subdivision located
  in the county that is held jointly with an election described by
  Subdivision (1), (2), (3), or (4).
         SECTION 6.  Section 85.001(b), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  For a special runoff election for the office of state
  senator or state representative [or for a runoff primary election],
  the period begins on the 10th day before election day.
         SECTION 7.  Section 85.062(b), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  A polling place established under this section may be
  located, subject to Subsection (d), at any place in the territory
  served by the early voting clerk and may be located in any
  stationary structure as directed by the authority establishing the
  branch office. The polling place may be located in a movable
  structure in the general election for state and county officers or
  the[,] general primary election[, or runoff primary election].
  Ropes or other suitable objects may be used at the polling place to
  ensure compliance with Section 62.004. Persons who are not
  expressly permitted by law to be in a polling place shall be
  excluded from the polling place to the extent practicable.
         SECTION 8.  Section 85.072(g), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (g)  The early voting clerk shall compile the registers and
  electronically submit to the secretary of state a record of each
  voter participating in a primary, [a runoff primary,] a general
  election, or any special election ordered by the governor not later
  than the day the voter votes in person or the early voting clerk
  receives a ballot voted by mail.
         SECTION 9.  Sections 123.033(d) and (e), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (d)  A county is not required to provide a political party's
  county executive committee with equipment for use in an election
  precinct in which fewer than 100 votes were cast in the political
  party's most recent general [or runoff] primary.
         (e)  The maximum amount that may be charged for leasing
  equipment to a county executive committee for a general [or runoff]
  primary is:
               (1)  $5 for each unit of electronic voting system
  equipment installed at a polling place; and
               (2)  $5 for each unit of other equipment not specified
  by this subsection.
         SECTION 10.  Section 142.006(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  An application for a place on the ballot must be filed
  not later than 5 p.m. of the 30th day after [runoff] primary
  election day, except as provided by Section 202.007.
         SECTION 11.  Section 142.008, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 142.008.  STATEMENT ON PETITION. The following
  statement must appear at the top of each page of a candidate's
  petition: "I know the purpose of this petition. I have not voted in
  the general primary election [or runoff primary election] of any
  political party that has nominated, at either election, a candidate
  for the office of (insert office title) for which (insert
  candidate's name) is a candidate."
         SECTION 12.  Section 142.009, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 142.009.  PETITION TO BE CIRCULATED AFTER PRIMARY. A
  signature on a candidate's petition is invalid if the signer:
               (1)  signed the petition on or before general primary
  election day [or, if a runoff primary is held for the office sought
  by the candidate, on or before runoff primary election day]; or
               (2)  voted in the general [or runoff] primary election
  of a political party that made a nomination, at either primary, for
  the office sought by the candidate.
         SECTION 13.  Section 162.004(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  Subject to Subsection (a-1), if a voter is accepted to
  vote without presenting a registration certificate, the presiding
  judge shall issue the voter an affiliation certificate.  [The
  certificate is not required to be issued to a voter in a runoff
  primary unless the voter requests it.]  The affiliation certificate
  may be combined with the notice provided under Section 172.1114.  If
  the combined form is used, an election officer is not required to
  comply with Subsection (b).
         SECTION 14.  Section 162.005, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 162.005.  AFFILIATION PROCEDURE: EARLY VOTING BY MAIL.
  Subject to Section 162.004(a-1), the early voting clerk in a
  general primary election shall provide an affiliation certificate
  with each early voting or limited ballot to be voted by mail. [The
  certificate is not required to be provided to an applicant for a
  runoff primary ballot unless the applicant requests it.]
         SECTION 15.  Section 163.004(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  A political party's rules, including amendments to
  rules, governing or affecting its general [or runoff] primary
  elections, conventions held under this code, or nominees may be
  adopted only by:
               (1)  a state convention; or
               (2)  the state executive committee as:
                     (A)  a temporary rule, if adoption before the next
  state convention is necessary; or
                     (B)  a permanent rule, if the state executive
  committee is expressly required or authorized by statute to adopt a
  rule.
         SECTION 16.  Sections 171.022(a), (b), and (c), Election
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A county executive committee consists of:
               (1)  a county chair, who is the presiding officer,
  elected at the general primary election [by majority vote of the
  qualified voters of the county who vote in the primary on that
  office] or appointed by the county executive committee as provided
  by this subchapter; and
               (2)  a precinct chair from each county election
  precinct, elected at the general primary [by majority vote of the
  qualified voters of the precinct who vote in the primary on that
  office], subject to Section 171.0221, or appointed by the county
  executive committee as provided by this subchapter.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), if no candidate
  receives a majority of the votes, a preferential voting system is
  used [runoff] to determine the office [is conducted] in the same
  manner as a preferential voting system is used [runoff primary
  election] to determine a nomination for public office under Section
  172.004. [The candidates to be in a runoff are determined in the
  same manner as candidates in a runoff for a nomination.]
         (c)  Each committee member serves for a term of two years
  beginning the 20th day after [runoff] primary election day.
         SECTION 17.  Section 172.004, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 172.004.  PREFERENTIAL VOTING IN [RUNOFF] PRIMARY
  ELECTION. (a) If no candidate for nomination to a particular
  office receives the vote required for nomination in the general
  primary election, the votes of the candidate receiving the fewest
  number of votes are reassigned to the candidate ranking next
  highest in the preference of a voter [a runoff primary election
  shall be held to determine the nomination].
         (b)  If after reassigning votes under Subsection (a) no
  candidate receives a majority of the votes cast designating the
  modified highest favorable ranking, the reassignment of a vote to a
  voter's next most preferred candidate under Subsection (a)
  continues until one candidate receives a majority.
         (c)  If two or more candidates tie for the least number of
  votes before a reassignment of votes under Subsection (a) or (b),
  the tied candidates shall cast lots to determine which candidate's
  votes are reassigned.
         (d)  The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to
  provide for an election to be held under this chapter using a
  preferential voting system.  The system must allow a voter to rank
  each candidate through a numerical designation from the candidate
  the voter favors most to the candidate the voter favors least [The
  candidates in a runoff for a nomination shall be determined and a
  tie vote in a runoff resolved as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter
  2, for a runoff for an election to office].
         SECTION 18.  Section 172.061(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  Except for Section [Sections] 172.058(b), [172.059(c),
  and 172.060(b),] this subchapter applies to a candidate for county
  chair or precinct chair.
         SECTION 19.  Section 172.117(a-2), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a-2)  The county chair shall update the notations after each
  general primary [and runoff primary] election, unless the secretary
  of state's Internet website automatically updates the notations
  based on election returns.  After any withdrawal or death of a
  candidate, and subsequent replacement of the candidate on the
  ballot, the chair shall notify the state chair, who shall update the
  notation on the website.  All notations must be completed and
  accurate on the date prescribed by the secretary of state by rule to
  ensure that an authority printing general election ballots may rely
  on the information.
         SECTION 20.  Section 172.126(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The primary elections in a county may be conducted
  jointly at the regular polling places designated for the general
  election for state and county officers. The county clerk shall
  supervise the overall conduct of the joint primary elections. This
  section applies to the conduct of joint primary elections
  notwithstanding and in addition to other applicable provisions of
  this code. The decision to conduct a joint general primary election
  [or runoff primary election, as applicable,] must be made by
  majority vote of the full membership of the commissioners court and
  with the unanimous approval of the county clerk and the county chair
  of each political party required to nominate candidates by primary
  election.
         SECTION 21.  Section 172.127(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  The presiding judge or alternate presiding judge for the
  precinct may post signs at a polling place for a primary election
  [or a primary runoff election] that:
               (1)  identify the names of, or symbols representing,
  any political parties holding an election at the polling place; and
               (2)  do not refer to a candidate or measure on the
  ballot.
         SECTION 22.  Sections 173.083(a), (b), and (c), Election
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The amount of estimated primary election expenses
  payable with state funds under this section is equal to[:
               [(1)  for a general primary election,] the difference
  obtained by subtracting the sum of the filing fees and
  contributions reported in the statement of estimated primary
  election expenses from the total amount of estimated general
  primary expenses approved by the secretary of state under Section
  173.082[; and
               [(2)  for a runoff primary election, the total amount
  of estimated runoff primary expenses approved by the secretary].
         (b)  State payment of the estimated primary election
  expenses shall be made in installments as follows:
               (1)  the initial installment [for the expenses of a
  general primary] is equal to three-fourths, or three-fifths if the
  secretary of state determines that figure to be more efficient, of
  the amount of estimated general primary expenses payable with state
  funds; and
               (2)  [the initial installment for the expenses of a
  runoff primary is equal to three-fourths, or three-fifths if the
  secretary of state determines that figure to be more efficient, of
  the amount of estimated runoff primary expenses payable with state
  funds; and
               [(3)]  the final installment is equal to the difference
  obtained by subtracting the total of the installment [installments]
  paid under Subdivision [Subdivisions] (1) [and (2)] from the total
  of the actual general [and runoff] primary election expenses
  payable with state funds.
         (c)  After determining the amount of estimated primary
  expenses to approve under Section 173.082 for a general [or runoff]
  primary, the secretary of state shall calculate the amount of the
  installment payable under Subsection (b)(1) [or (2), as
  applicable]. The secretary shall then prepare and deliver to the
  comptroller of public accounts a certified statement indicating the
  amount of the installment, the total amount of estimated general
  [or runoff] primary expenses payable with state funds, and the name
  of the county or state chair who submitted the statement of
  estimated primary election expenses.
         SECTION 23.  Sections 173.0833(a) and (b), Election Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  This section applies to election services and materials
  provided by a vendor for use in a primary election [or primary
  runoff election], including:
               (1)  the printing of paper ballot material containing
  candidates' names used in a polling place;
               (2)  the programming and testing of voting system
  equipment, including ballot layout, programming of equipment, and
  audio production;
               (3)  site support or technical support other than the
  programming or testing of voting system equipment;
               (4)  nonballot election materials used in a precinct on
  election day, including election kits, required party stamps,
  distance signs, and required forms; and
               (5)  the rental of non-county-owned electronic voting
  system equipment, including media components.
         (b)  A vendor providing election services or materials to a
  county chair or a county election officer contracting with a county
  chair for a primary [or runoff primary] election shall directly
  bill the secretary of state for the cost of the services or
  materials used on election day for which state funding is available
  under this chapter.
         SECTION 24.  Sections 173.084(a) and (b), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Regardless of whether state funds are requested for
  paying primary expenses, each county chair and state chair shall
  prepare a report that includes:
               (1)  an itemized list of the actual expenses incurred
  in connection with the primary election [general and runoff
  primaries] by the authority preparing the report and by the
  executive committee over which the authority presides;
               (2)  the amount of the primary candidates' filing fees
  required to be deposited in the county primary fund if the report is
  by a county chair, or in the state primary fund if the report is by
  the state chair;
               (3)  the amount of filing fees that have been refunded;
               (4)  the amount of the contributions to the executive
  committee over which the authority preparing the report presides
  that:
                     (A)  are for the purpose of defraying primary
  election expenses; and
                     (B)  have not been included in a report filed
  under this section for a previous primary election year; and
               (5)  the balance in the county primary fund if the
  report is by a county chair, or in the state primary fund if the
  report is by the state chair, that remains after deducting the
  primary election expenses actually incurred and the refunded filing
  fees.
         (b)  The authority preparing the report shall file it with
  the secretary of state not later than August 31 following the
  [applicable] primary election[, in the case of the county chair's
  report, or if no runoff primary is held for a statewide or district
  office, in the case of the state chair's report].
         SECTION 25.  Section 202.007(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  If a vacancy occurs after [runoff] primary election day,
  an independent candidate for the unexpired term must file the
  application for a place on the ballot not later than 5 p.m. of the
  30th day after the date the vacancy occurs or 5 p.m. of the 70th day
  before general election day, whichever is earlier.
         SECTION 26.  Section 232.008(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  A contestant must file the petition not later than the
  later of the 10th day after the date the election records are
  publicly available under Section 1.012 or the official result is
  determined in a contest of:
               (1)  a primary [or runoff primary] election; or
               (2)  a general or special election for which a runoff is
  necessary according to the official result or will be necessary if
  the contestant prevails.
         SECTION 27.  Section 232.048(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  If no candidate receives a majority vote in a new
  election ordered by a court in the contest of an election in which a
  majority vote is required, a runoff election shall be held[:
               [(1)  for a primary election contest, on the date set by
  the district court in which the contest was heard, except as
  provided by Subsection (c); or
               [(2)  for a contest of a general or special election,]
  on the date set by the authority responsible for ordering the runoff
  election.
         SECTION 28.  Section 255.002(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The rate charged for political advertising by a radio or
  television station may not exceed:
               (1)  during the 45 days preceding a general [or runoff]
  primary election and during the 60 days preceding a general or
  special election, the broadcaster's lowest unit charge for
  advertising of the same class, for the same time, and for the same
  period; or
               (2)  at any time other than that specified by
  Subdivision (1), the amount charged other users for comparable use
  of the station.
         SECTION 29.  The following provisions of the Election Code
  are repealed:
               (1)  Section 41.007(b);
               (2)  Section 172.058(c);
               (3)  Section 172.059;
               (4)  Section 172.060;
               (5)  Section 172.061(b);
               (6)  Section 172.084;
               (7)  Section 172.120(b-1);
               (8)  Section 172.121;
               (9)  Section 172.125; and
               (10)  Section 173.081(e).
         SECTION 30.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to an election ordered on or after September 1, 2021.
         SECTION 31.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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