Texas election code reveals Round Rock may not be able to postpone its election

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas State election code suggests the City of Round Rock’s move to postpone its November election won’t fly.

On Thursday July 9, the Round Rock City Council voted to postpone the city’s general and special elections — which were originally scheduled for this May — until May 1, 2021.

Council member Hilda Montgomery was the only dissenting vote in the 6-1 vote.

Flash forward to two weeks later, over a handful of Round Rock community members showed up at its July 23 council meeting to express their concerns.

“You think the citizens are not competent enough to look at the ballot accordingly. I’m not sure if you’ve voted, but you can’t skip a box. This isn’t about people getting lost at the bottom of the ballot. This is about you getting to choose your voters, instead of the voters getting choose you … it’s blunt voter suppression,” said Round Rock Resident John Curtis.

Several other Round Rock citizens sent a letter to the Secretary of State. Staff Attorney, Krystine Ramon responded to their inquiry:

As you know, Texas began experiencing the effect of the worldwide pandemic in March of this year and as a result, the Governor issued a proclamation suspending the provisions of state law authorizing but not requiring entities with elections in May to have a one-time postponement of their elections to the November uniform date. There was no suspension of the state law past the November uniform election date and there is no authority for postponement past that date. There is no authority for extending terms up for election for a full year. Any election held on a date other than November 3. will be void,” said Secretary of State Staff Attorney, Krystine Ramon.

KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout reached out to the City of Round Rock about this. The City says it has not received anything from the Secretary of State directly, and will not be commenting at this time.

In an interview with Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan Tuesday, he said the postponement had nothing to do with COVID-19 concerns but was to remain consistent with the city charter.

“There has been an ordinance in place for decades that our elections have always been held in May,” said Mayor Craig Morgan. “It’s consistent with what we have done for years. This shouldn’t be a sock to anybody.” 

According to the Secretary of State, if Round Rock moves forward with its May 2021 election date, then the results will not be valid.

“People ask, ‘Well what happens if someone tries to sue you?’ I think we win if someone tries to sue us. If it was the candidate who ran in November, I think they could sue us saying the City of Round Rock didn’t follow the city charter and ordinance law,” Morgan said.

As of now, Round Rock says that Mayor Morgan and council members Will Peckham and Tammy Young will continue to serve in their positions until they are filled in May 2021.

For more information on Round Rock’s local elections, click here.

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