Candidacy Filing - Local Political Subdivisions
NOTE: This outline addresses the general requirements for candidacy for local political subdivisions such as cities, school districts, water districts, hospital districts, etc. All sections refer to the Texas Election Code unless otherwise cited.
Filing for Public Office in Local Political Subdivision
Independent Candidacy Required.
General Rule:A candidate for local office may appear on the ballot only as an independent candidate.[Sec. 143.002]
EXCEPTION: Partisan candidacy for home-rule city office may be authorized by city charter. [Sec. 143.003]
Application Required (need not be on official form).
General Requirements for Application: [Sec. 141.031]
Signed and sworn to by the candidate.
NOTE:The oath must be administered by a person authorized to administer an oath under Texas law. [Sec. 602.002, Government Code]
NEW LAW:This has been emphasized by House Bill 2157 (2017).
TIP:The city secretary may administer the oath for applications for a place on the ballot for city offices. [Sec. 602.002(15)]
Indicates the date that the candidate swore to the application;
Timely filed with the appropriate authority; and
The candidate's name.
NOTE: An affidavit that any nickname provided for the name as it is to appear on the ballot is the nickname by which the candidate has been commonly known in the community for at least 3 years. [Sec. 52.031(c)].
NOTE: Secretary of State candidate forms already have the affidavit included.
The candidate's occupation.
The office sought, including any place number or other distinguishing number.
An indication of whether the office sought is to be filled for a full or unexpired term if the office sought and another office to be voted on have the same title but do not have place numbers or other distinguishing numbers.
A statement that the candidate is a United States citizen.
A statement that the candidate has not been finally determined mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote by a court with probate jurisdiction.
A statement that the candidate has not been finally convicted of a felony from which the candidate has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.
The candidate's date of birth.
The candidate's residence address, or if the residence has no address, the address at which the candidate receives mail and a concise description of the location of the candidate's residence.
The candidate's length of continuous residence in the state and in the territory from which the office sought is elected as of the date that the candidate swears to the application.
A statement swearing to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and Texas.
A statement that the candidate is aware of the nepotism law.
A public mailing address for campaign correspondence if available, and any available electronic mail address at which the candidate receives correspondence relating to the candidate’s campaign. (Sec. 141.031)
NEW LAW:Section 141.031 was amended to request a public mailing address at which the candidate receives correspondence relating to the candidate’s campaign, if available, and any available electronic mail address at which the candidate receives correspondence relating to the candidate’s campaign, if available.House Bill 1735 (2017).(NOTE:this codifies SOS interpretation.) Updated forms reflect this.
Additional Information on Official Application Form.[Sec. 141.039]
A space for indicating the form in which the candidate's name is to appear on the ballot.
Application for Home-Rule City.[Sec. 143.005]
City charter may prescribe requirements in connection with a candidate's application for a place on the ballot; however, the charter may not prescribe a different filing deadline
Applications for other political subdivisions (other than county or city).[Sec. 144.003] If a law outside the Election Code prescribes exclusive requirements for a candidate's application, the general requirements do not apply, except for the nepotism statement.
Filing Application – Generally.
Availability of Forms. [Sec. 1.010]
The authority with whom the Election Code requires an application to be filed must make printed forms for that purpose, as prescribed by the Secretary of State, readily and timely available. The forms must be furnished without charge.
TIP:Applications for a place on the ballot may be downloaded and printed out from the Secretary of State’s website.
Municipal Elections: City secretary. [Sec. 143.006]
EXCEPTION: Home-rule city charter may designate another person.
Method of Filing Application.[Sec. 1.007(c)]
An application filed by mail is considered filed at the time of its receipt by the appropriate authority. The time of receipt is the time at which a post office employee:
Places it in the actual possession of the authority or an agent; or
Deposits it in the authority's mailbox or at the usual place of delivery for the authority's official mail. [Sec. 1.009]
Notice of filing period.
The authority with whom an application for a place on the ballot is filed must post a Notice of Deadline to File Applications for Place on the Ballot, listing the filing period dates in a building in which the authority maintains an office. The notice must be posted not later than the 30th day before the first day to file. (Sec. 141.040). If you order a special election to fill a vacancy, the order must include the filing deadline; we recommend posting the notice of the filing period as soon as practicable after a special election is ordered.
NOTE: Water Code Section 49.113 requires the notice required by Section 141.040, Election Code to be posted at the district's administrative office in the district or at the public place established by the district under Section 49.063 of this chapter not later than the 30th day before the deadline for a candidate to file an application for a place on the ballot of a district directors' election.We harmonize these notice requirements as to timing, and advise that the notice be posted by the 30th day before the first day to file, the Election Code Section 141.040 requirement.We read this law as primarily adding to the authorized locations that the notice may be posted.
First Day to File.
First day to file an application for a place on the ballot in the general election of a city, I.S.D. school board, or junior college district election is the 30th day before the filing deadline.[See Sec. 143.007, Election Code; and Education Code, Sec. 11.055; Education Code, Sec. 130.082(g)]
NOTE:Election Code Sec. 144.005 now provides for a “first day” to file of the 30th day before the date of the filing deadline, unless otherwise provided by the Election Code.Senate Bill 910 (2013). Under prior law, there was no requirement as to the first day applications could be accepted for hospital, water, library, or emergency services districts under general laws; however, special laws sometimes provided a first day. [Sec. 144.005]
Municipal General Election:An application for a place on the general election ballot must be filed not later than 5 p.m. of the 78th day before election day. [Sec. 143.007]A city charter may prescribe requirements in connection with a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot for an office of a home-rule city.[Sec. 143.005] This section does not authorize a city charter provision that changes the filing deadline.
NEW LAW: House Bill 2323 (2017) amended Section 201.054 (special election to fill vacancy) to for a write-in deadline on the same day as the filing deadline. Also, Subsection (f) was amended to provide a deadline at 6:00 p.m. for November of even-numbered years.[Sec. 201.054]
Candidate’s Applications with Petition.
NOTE: Most local political subdivisions DO NOT require petitions for an application for a place on the ballot. This material is included for those entities whose law provides for a petition.
Validity of Petition.
Requirements. [Sec. 141.062]
Petition must be timely filed with appropriate authority;
A petition may consist of multiple parts (e.g. – multiple pages with multiple circulators).
NEW LAW: New Section 141.065 (c) provides that a single notarized affidavit by any person who obtained signatures is valid for all signatures gathered by the person if the date of notarization is on or after the date of the last signature obtained by the person. House Bill 2157 (2017). (NOTE: this codifies SOS interpretation.)
Affidavit of Circulator. [Sec. 141.065]
Validity of Petition Signatures.
For a signature to be valid, signer must be a registered voter of the territory from which the office sought is to be elected or have been issued a registration certificate that will be effective in that territory on election day.
The signer's residence address;
Affidavit of Circulator. [Sec. 141.065]
Each part of a petition must include an affidavit of the person who circulated it, stating that the person:
indicated and read to each signer, before the petition was signed, each statement pertaining to the signer that appears on the petition;
Signing more than one petition prohibited. [Sec. 141.066]
A person may not sign the petition of more than one candidate for the same office in the same election.
Home-rule city petition. [Sec. 143.005(d)]
For any petition required or authorized to be filed in connection with a candidate's application for a place on the ballot for an office of a home-rule city, the minimum number of signatures that must appear on the petition is the greater of:
Withdrawal of signature on candidate's petition. [Sec. 141.067]
The signer must request that the signature be withdrawn.
Running as a Write-In Candidate in Local Political Subdivisions.
“Open” Write-In Votes Are Permitted Except as Provided by Law.
Except as otherwise provided by law, if the name of the person for whom a voter desires to vote does not appear on the ballot, the voter may write-in the name of that person. [Sec. 146.001]
A candidate does not have to file a "Declaration of Write-In Candidacy" to run as a write-in candidate if open write-in votes are permitted. Any write-in vote must be counted.
Most political subdivisions do not have open write-ins.
NOTE:a common exception is the creation election for a water district, which often has a slate of temporary directors’ names followed by write-in spaces; consult the source law for your water district.
Declarations of Write-In Candidacy Required if Express Requirement
A write-in vote may not be counted for a person, unless the person has filed a declaration of write-in candidacy:
In an independent school district general election or special election to fill a vacancy. [Education Code, Sec. 11.056(c)]
Authority with whom declaration is filed.
Same as regular application for a place on the ballot – See I. C. 2., above.
A declaration of write in candidacy must satisfy the same requirements as an application for a place on the ballot. [Sec. 146.023(b)]
Filing deadline for declaration:
NEW LAW (if entity has special election):House Bill 2323 (2017) amended Section 201.054 (special election to fill vacancy) to for a write-in deadline on the same day as the filing deadline. [Sec. 201.054]
The following are the general election deadlines:
City: The declaration must be filed by 5:00 p.m. of the 74th day before election day. [Sec. 146.054]
Certification of candidate for placement on list of write in candidates.
The authority with whom a declaration of write-in candidacy is required to be filed must certify in writing for placement on the list of write-in candidates the name of each candidate who files with the authority a declaration which complies with the general requirements for an application for a place on the ballot. [Sec. 146.029(a)]
NOTE:If no name is to be certified, the authority must certify that fact in writing.
Review of Application (and Petition, if applicable) and Notice to Candidates.[Sec. 141.032]
On the filing of an application for a place on the ballot, the authority with whom the application is filed must review the application to determine whether it complies with the requirements as to form, content, and procedure only. That is, the authority checks to be sure it was filed correctly and in a timely manner and that all required information is completed and attested to. [Sec. 141.032(a)]
Unless accompanied by a petition, the review must be completed not later than the fifth day after the date the application is received by the authority. [Sec. 141.032(b)]
If an application is accompanied by a petition, the petition is considered part of the application, and the review must be completed as soon as practicable after the date the application is received by the authority. [Sec. 141.032(c)] The petition is NOT considered part of the application for purposes of determining compliance with the requirements applicable to each document; that is, a deficiency in the requirements of one document may not be remedied by the contents of the other document. [Sec. 141.032(c)]
An initial determination that an application complies with the requirements as to form, content, and procedure does NOT preclude a later determination that the application does not comply, subject to Section 141.034. (Section 141.034 sets a deadline for challenges to form, content, or procedure. See IV. A. 6., below.) [Sec. 141.032(d)]
NOTE:The Election Code provides no process for a candidate to supplement a defective application. The application and petition must stand or fall as originally filed. Some case law seems to suggest that in certain cases, a candidate may have a right to supplement a defective petition. The Texas Supreme Court has held that candidates, who made timely filings and whose petitions were accepted, could not be rejected later for minor clerical errors that could have been fixed had the candidate been notified of the defect.See In Re Francis, 186 SW 3rd 534 (Tex 2006) and In re Holcomb, 186 SW 3rd 553 (Tex 2006). However, in 2011 Sections 141.032 and 141.062 were amended to clarify that after the filing deadline, a candidate may not amend an application for a place on the ballot (Section 141.032) or any accompanying petition in lieu of filing fee (Section 141.062), nor can the filing authority accept an amendment to their application for a place on the ballot or any accompanying petition in lieu of filing fee. Our office recommends that the filing authority promptly review applications in order to avoid litigation; however, the law has been amended to emphasize that the filing authority cannot accept amendments after the filing deadline.
If an application does not comply with applicable requirements, the authority must reject the application and immediately deliver to the candidate written notice of the reason for the rejection. [Sec. 141.032(e)]
Section 141.032, which governs the review of a candidate's application for a place on the ballot for form, content, and procedure, does not apply to a determination of a candidate's eligibility. For information on a challenge to a candidate’s eligibility, see “Administrative Declaration of Ineligibility” at IV. C., below.
NEW LAW:An application for a place on the ballot may not be challenged for compliance with the applicable requirements as to form, content, and procedure after the day before any ballot to be voted early by mail is mailed for the election for which the application is made. This deadline does not apply to a determination of a candidate's eligibility. A challenge must state with specificity how the application does not comply with the applicable requirements as to form, content, and procedure. The authority's review of the challenge is limited to the specific items challenged and any response filed with the authority by the challenged candidate. Sec. 141.034, Senate Bill 44 (2017).
Application and any accompanying petition is public information as soon as it is filed. [Sec. 141.035] Therefore, any person may request a viewing or a copy.
Withdrawal of Candidate.
To be effective, a withdrawal request must:
Be in writing, signed, and acknowledged (sworn to) by the candidate; and
A withdrawal request filed by mail is considered to be filed at the time of its receipt by the appropriate authority or an employee of that authority. [Sec. 145.001(c)]
Deadline for withdrawal for candidates other than write-in candidates:
General Rule:a candidate in an election for which the filing deadline is a date not specifically addressed by Section 145.092 may not withdraw after 5 p.m. of the fifth day after the candidate’s deadline for filing application for a place on the ballot. [Sec. 145.092(a)]
NOTE:Technically, subsection (a) is the “general rule.” However, for a city, school district or other local entity using the filing deadline of the 78th day before election day (Senate Bill 1703, effective September 1, 2015), the withdrawal deadline will be the 71st day before election day.
Deadline for withdrawal of declared write-in candidates is the 71st day before election day. [Sec. 146.0301(a)]
Deadline for withdrawal of candidate in runoff election (i.e., when election requires majority vote and no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote) is 5 p.m. of the 3rd day after the final canvass of the main election.
A candidate's name is omitted from the ballot if the candidate withdraws before the appropriate deadline for withdrawal. [Sec. 145.094] See general rule and new law discussed at IV.B.3.a above.
NOTE:If a candidate does not file the withdrawal before the deadline, the withdrawal is ineffective; the candidate's name will remain on the ballot, and any votes cast for that candidate must be counted in the regular manner. If the candidate wins, he or she may take office, if still in compliance with eligibility requirements. If a runoff is required, the candidate may be placed on the runoff ballot unless he or she withdraws in a timely manner from the runoff election. [Sec. 145.001].
If a candidate in a run-off timely withdraws, the remaining candidate is considered to be elected and no runoff election is held. [Sec. 145.095]
If the authority with whom the withdrawal request is filed is not responsible for having the official ballot prepared, the authority must certify the candidate’s name in writing as a withdrawn candidate and promptly deliver the certification to the authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared. [145.093(b)]
Administrative Declaration of Ineligibility.[Sec. 145.003]
A candidate may be administratively declared ineligible if:
The information on the candidate's application for a place on the ballot indicates that the candidate is ineligible for the office; or
When presented with an application for a place on the ballot or another public record containing information pertinent to the candidate's eligibility, the appropriate authority must promptly review the record. If the authority determines that the record establishes ineligibility, the authority shall declare the candidate ineligible. [Sec. 145.003(g)]
A candidate maybe administratively declared ineligible:
By the authority with whom the application was filed before early voting by personal appearance begins. [Sec. 145.003(c)]
If a candidate is declared ineligible, the authority making the declaration must promptly give written notice of the declaration of ineligibility to the candidate. [Sec. 145.003(i)]
If a candidate is declared ineligible on or before the deadline to withdraw, the candidate's name is omitted from the ballot. [Sec. 145.096]. See IV. B. 3. & 4. above, for deadlines to withdraw. See IV. E., below for effect of candidate being declared ineligible after the deadline.
NOTE:Similar to the withdrawal deadline discussed above, technically, subsection (a) is the “general rule.” However, for a city, school district or other local entity using the filing deadline of the 78th day before election day (Senate Bill 1703, effective September 1, 2015), the deadline to declare a candidate ineligible in time to omit the name from the ballot (like the withdrawal deadline)is the 71st day before election day.
If a run-off candidate is declared ineligible, the candidate's name remains on the ballot. [Sec. 145.096(b)]
Candidate's Death.[Sec. 145.096]
If the death occurs before the 2nd day before the filing deadline, the name is omitted from the ballot.
If the death occurs after the 2nd day before the filing deadline, the name remains on the ballot. See. IV. E., below for effect of deceased candidate’s name remaining on the ballot.
If a run-off candidate dies, the name remains on the ballot. [Sec. 145.096(b)]
Effect of Votes Cast for Deceased or Ineligible Candidate After the Deadline for Omitting Name on Ballot.[Sec. 145.005]
In an election where there is no runoff requirement(i.e., election is by plurality): If a candidate dies or is declared ineligible after the deadline, the candidate's name will remain on the ballot, and any votes cast for that candidate must be counted in the regular manner. If the candidate receives the vote required for the election, a vacancy results and is filled in the regular manner of filling vacancies in the political subdivision.
In an election where there is a runoff requirement(i.e., election is by majority): Again, if a candidate dies or is declared ineligible after the deadline, the candidate's name will remain on the ballot, and any votes cast for that candidate must be counted in the regular manner. If the deceased or ineligible candidate received the vote that would entitle the candidate to a place on the runoff ballot, the candidates on the runoff ballot will be determined without regard to the votes cast for the deceased or ineligible candidate. That is, the votes for the deceased or ineligible candidate will be disregarded.
City Secretary | Susan Coffer
Copyright © City of Weston, Texas 2016. All rights reserved.